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Jack Hawksworth to make XFINITY debut for Joe Gibbs after Jeffrey Earnhardt and iK9 part ways

UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announced today Jack Hawksworth will make his NASCAR debut this weekend in the NASCAR Xfinity Series piloting the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“I’m excited to be joining the Joe Gibbs Racing team and driving the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra this weekend at Mid-Ohio,” said Hawksworth. “It’s a fantastic opportunity in a completely different series, against completely different competition and in a different type of racing. From a personal perspective, I’m very excited to experience something new and to be challenged in a new way. It’s going to be very different, I’m sure it’s going to be difficult and there’s going to be a bit of a learning curve with it, but I’m going into it with a championship-winning organization so that gives me a lot of confidence. I look to get out there and do a good job and looking forward to getting out on the track.”

While this weekend will mark his first race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the Xfinity Series, the 28-year-old Bradford, England native is no stranger to the 2.4-mile course. Most recently, Hawksworth competed at the track in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD class where he and teammate Richard Heistand piloted their Lexus RC F GT3 to the win in May. The duo also captured a win this season at Raceway at Belle Isle Park in June and are currently tied for the lead in the IMSA GTD Sprint Cup Championship team standings and sit fourth in the overall GTD points standings.

Since moving to the United States in 2011, Hawksworth has competed in multiple racing series. He first made his mark in the US competing in the Star Mazda Series in 2012 where he won the championship and broke the series record for most wins, poles and fastest lap in a season. He then moved to the Indy Lights Series for 2013 where he earned three race wins, six podium finishes and two pole positions. For the next three seasons (2014-2016), Hawksworth competed in the Indy Car Series finishing a career-best finish of third in 2014 in Houston, Texas and earned the Indy Car Tony Renna Rising Star Award during his rookie season. He also won the 2014 Brickyard Grand Prix in the IMSA Prototype Challenge class at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hawksworth moved to the RC F GT3 in 2017 where he has competed the last two seasons.

“As we head in to the second road course of the season, we’re fortunate to have a veteran like Jack Hawksworth be able to come out of the Lexus program to help out the Toyota family and our team in the No. 18 iK9 Supra this weekend,” said Steve DeSouza, Executive Vice President of Xfinity Series and Development for Joe Gibbs Racing. “He will bring a great deal of experience and a history of success to JGR this weekend. I think he’ll be a great asset to our team and be someone that both Brandon (Jones) and Christopher (Bell) can look to for advice on how to get around Mid-Ohio. He’s proven he can win at the track and no reason not to continue that this weekend with the 18 team.”

Hawksworth will make his first laps in the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra during Friday’s practice sessions beginning at 1:35 p.m. ET. Teams will have two practice sessions on Friday afternoon followed by qualifying at 11:40 a.m. ET and the race at 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 10, 2019 with coverage on NBCSN.

— Joe Gibbs Racing —

ORIGINAL POST: Jeffrey Earnhardt was scheduled to drive the #18 for Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend at Mid-Ohio.