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Recent top-10 finish boosts Alabama-based NASCAR team

Xtreme Concepts Racing and its iK9 car recently enjoyed its highest-ever finish in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series.

Driver Jeffrey Earnhardt took the iK9 car to a sixth-place finish at the Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday. This top-10 came after his 15th place finish at Daytona, a race in which he led the first 29 laps.

These strong runs come on the heels of an early February announcement that Xtreme Concepts had expanded its deal with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).

For Xtreme Concepts founder and CEO Landon Ash, his company’s jump into racing and alliance with JGR was an easy choice given the nature of the company’s business.

“We are firm believers in the power of motorsports as a marketing platform, and it’s why we’ve expanded our partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing to promote the iK9 brand for the majority of the Xfinity Series schedule,” Ash said. “We’re investing in young talent in Jeffrey Earnhardt and Brandon Jones, and also proven talent in Kyle Busch. These three personalities can deliver for iK9 on the racetrack and interact with our customers off the track. They’re specialized athletes who align very well with iK9, as we provide the skills and support necessary for our clients to care for their highly specialized dogs.”

And with the company located in Alabama, it made even more sense.

“I believe Alabama helped start NASCAR and we have a huge NASCAR base here in Talladega,” Ash told Yellowhammer News. “’Made in Alabama’ resonates with me, and I don’t believe we should have to move to Charlotte to have a NASCAR team.”

Ash sees these early season finishes as a product of the team’s commitment to a long-term process.

According to him, some of the growing pains the team experienced last year were important to setting the team up for success this season.

He has also worked well with Earnhardt based on what he says is a shared story on how they broke into their respective businesses. Both came in with much to prove and had to make due early on with less than the best equipment.

Ash called Earnhardt “a phenomenal driver” who, for a while, could not get the equipment he needed to take his driving skills to the next level.

He had seen the work Earnhardt had done for the military and knew he would fit well behind the wheel of their car.

“We wanted to get behind him because we know he is a great brand ambassador and not just in NASCAR but across the board in what we look for in our people,” said Ash.

“I’m so proud of him and our whole team for what we’ve accomplished,” he added.

Earnhardt is not the only big-name driver behind the wheel of the iK9 car.

Veteran driver Kyle Busch takes over as part of the JGR deal beginning this week at the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion will drive the No. 18 iK9 car the next four races.

Busch is the winningest driver in Xfinity Series history having driven to the winner’s circle 92 times.

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News

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