Jeffrey Earnhardt gets ride for Daytona 500

Jeffrey Earnhardt will compete in the 2018 Daytona 500 for startup StarCom Racing, giving the legendary racing family a driver in the race for the 40th consecutive year.

The grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt and nephew of the now-retired Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeffrey Earnhardt was left looking for a ride when Circle Sport Racing ended its partnership with The Motorsports Group, scrapping the plans for Earnhardt to drive the No. 33 car this year.

He landed with a team managed by former Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope, who began working with the StarCom organization late last season and competed in two races. The team is leasing a charter from Richard Childress Racing, so it is guaranteed a spot in all 2018 events.

Dale Earnhardt competed in every Daytona 500 from 1979 until his death in the 2001 race, while Earnhardt Jr. had competed every year from 2000 to 2017, before retiring from Cup racing after last season.

"There's been an Earnhardt driving in the 500 for 39 years, so to be able to keep that streak going for a 40th year means a lot to me, and I'm sure a lot of Earnhardt fans are going to be happy to hear this news," Jeffrey Earnhardt said.

Jeffrey Earnhardt, 28, who finished 26th in the 2017 Daytona 500, has 58 career Cup starts. He is the son of Earnhardt's first child, Kerry.

He will be sponsored by Canadian racing and flight simulator company VRX Simulators in the one-race deal.

Cope is looking for drivers for the season, with the lineup determined by sponsorship. It is possible Jeffrey Earnhardt could compete in additional races. Veteran crew chief Tony Furr will guide the program.

"I knew Derrike casually before, but I didn't realize how much he knows about race cars," Jeffrey Earnhardt said. "He's got a tremendous amount of technical expertise and speaking with him gave me confidence that StarCom has big plans, and I want to be part of that progression."