Jeffrey Earnhardt, StarCom Racing agree to part ways amid rough start

Jeffrey Earnhardt and StarCom Racing have parted ways after a frustrating start to the 2018 season.

Earnhardt, the 28-year-old grandson of Dale Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr., was 33rd in the NASCAR Cup Series standings five races into the season.

After a promising career-best 21st-place finish in the Daytona 500, Earnhardt posted finishes of 34th, 31st, 35th and 36th in the next four races. He is the lowest in points of any driver who has run all five races, and the team is 36th in the owner standings.

"I want to thank StarCom Racing for the opportunity to pilot the No. 00 Chevrolet," Earnhardt said. "We are working hard on our sponsorship package and long-term plans, which unfortunately means taking a pause behind the wheel to take care of that business.

"I can't thank Robert Stanners and the VRX Simulators group enough for getting our season started, and continuing to support my racing career. We anticipate that there will be some exciting news to be shared within coming weeks."

Earnhardt and the team, which is run by former driver Derrike Cope, had hoped they could grow together. The team fielded a car for Cope in two races last year and leased a charter from Richard Childress Racing for the 2018 season. Earnhardt, the son of Dale Earnhardt's eldest son, Kerry, lost his ride in December when his team co-owners Joe Falk and Curtis Key ended their partnership.

Earnhardt has 83 career NASCAR Cup starts.