NFL Great Emmitt Smith and Jesse Iwuji Form Xfinity Team for 2022 - Engine Builder Magazine

NFL Great Emmitt Smith and Jesse Iwuji Form Xfinity Team for 2022

Over the weekend, it was announced that NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and Jesse Iwuji will partner to form Jesse Iwuji Motorsports for the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.

By forming Jesse Iwuji Motorsports, Smith and Iwuji say they intend to be more than just a race team, but also want to serve as a symbol of hope for those with less opportunity. With a focus on racial equality and improved inclusion in the sport, Iwuji and Smith will use esports and STEM-style initiatives to connect with lower-income communities to empower individuals to believe anything is possible.

Iwuji’s relationship with Smith originally blossomed with his agent, who has known Smith for roughly 20 years. One of Smith’s companies, Notable Live, sponsored Iwuji’s No. 99 car owned by B.J. McLeod in the Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway last October. Smith was also on hand to unveil the paint scheme for the race. Iwuji was able to use that opportunity to persuade Smith to consider co-ownership with him.

“We started throwing it at (Smith), like hey, you should be a part of this thing that we’re going to start, it’s going to be big,” Iwuji said. “He was excited. He was like, you know what, yeah, I want to be part of that. Next thing you know, he’s putting different ideas together and figuring out a way to have it a little bit different than other people do.”

Now in the U.S. Navy Reserves, Iwuji was active duty in the Navy from 2010-’17. Since 2015, Iwuji has competed in five Xfinity Series races, including one start this season at Pocono Raceway for car owner Mike Harmon. The 34-year-old driver also has 14 Camping World Truck Series starts over four years, which includes three starts in 2021 with car owner Josh Reaume.

Shifting from the military to NASCAR national series racing isn’t exactly conventional, but Iwuji was willing to put in the hard work to make it happen. That’s what caught Smith’s attention.

“(Smith) saw me basically going from driving warships in 2014 to driving race cars in 2015,” Iwuji said. “He saw that grind and he knew; you know what, I want to associate myself with a grinder. Anybody can have all the ideas in the world, have everything written down on lists, but at the end of the day, it takes a special person to be a true grinder. Someone that makes things happen and he saw that in me. He knew no matter what, I was going to get this thing going in the right direction.”

Smith’s Notable Live company sponsored Iwuji in a 2020 race at Texas.

When Smith first interacted with Iwuji at Texas, he was sold on supporting him.

“That’s how I got a chance to meet Jesse, understand what his mission was, understand what his plans were and to try be involved in every which way I possibly could to enhance it,” Smith told NBCSN. “Not only that, but to bring more attention and create those opportunities that Jesse talked about. Creating a legacy and a pipeline of people who don’t know the pathway to get there. Our mission is two-to-threefold if you will. We obviously want to win, but we also want to create opportunities for others.”

No formal announcement regarding manufacturer, car number, team alliance, sponsors and crew chief has been released, but Iwuji intends to run a full-time schedule and compete for Rookie of the Year honors.

But Iwuji did leave a cliffhanger regarding the number selection. Honoring Smith with the No. 22 on the side of the car is a thought if they are able to snag it from Team Penske’s current Xfinity Series effort.

Source: NASCAR.com

You May Also Like

Hedman Husler Hedders Relocates to California

The consolidation aims to improve production efficiency for the Husler Hedders brand.

Hedman Performance Group, a manufacturer of off-road and performance header applications, is relocating its Alpharetta, GA-based Hedman Husler race header operations to the company's global headquarters and manufacturing facility in Whittier, CA.

According to the company, the consolidation aims to improve production efficiency for the Husler Hedders brand, and Husler-branded products can still be ordered as normal through June 30, 2024.

2026 Formula 1 Regulations Released

The new regulations aim to produce smaller and lighter cars than the current generation and include all-new active aerodynamics systems.

Race Winning Brands Adds Powersports V-Twin Sales Manager

David Zemla joins Race Winning Brands with significant experience spearheading growth in the V-Twin market segment.

Route Revealed for ’24 Hot Rod Power Tour

Will this year’s tour be rolling through your area?

Women with Drive Event Planned for 2024 Pikes Peak

Women with Drive event will feature a panel discussion and reception at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs on June 21.

Other Posts

Virginia Disassociates from California Emissions Standards and ICE Ban

Elected in 2021, Youngkin campaigned on repealing California’s standards and pledged to follow through during his 2023 State of the Commonwealth address.

Babcox Media Appoints Tom Pecka Director of Strategic Partnerships

Pecka will oversee the development and execution of strategic media partnerships and sponsorships, as well as enhance media activations across the company’s media channels.

Mazak Celebrates 50 Years of Manufacturing in Kentucky

Mazak technology, service and support has helped manufacturers overcome their toughest challenges for the past 50 years and will continue to do so well into the future.

SEMA Battle of the Builders Enters Second Decade of Competition

Now in its 11th year, SEMA Battle of the Builders is a vehicle competition providing an international platform for SEMA Show builders to showcase their ingenuity.