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Sun Drop Returns to JRM for North Wilkesboro, Florence Late Model Races for Dale Jr., Sammy Smith

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 9, 2024) -- Nothing goes together quite as well as Sun Drop and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver and two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion will return to the cockpit on Aug. 30 at Florence Motor Speedway in the No. 3 Sun Drop Chevrolet for the zMAX CARS Tour event, and as an added bonus, JR Motorsports driver Sammy Smith will take over the No. 88 Late Model at North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 15, driving a new Cherry Lemon Sun Drop-themed Chevrolet.


The announcement is the continuation of a multi-year partnership between Earnhardt Jr. and Sun Drop, a division of Keurig Dr Pepper, that was signed last year.  Earnhardt Jr. returned to Late Model competition at North Wilkesboro Speedway in May 2022, driving a Sun Drop car which featured the same paint scheme he ran there in 1994. He impressed in the race, finishing a solid third behind teammate Carson Kvapil and Mason Diaz. He was 16th in the 2023 event, also in Sun Drop colors.


Dale Jr.’s relationship with Sun Drop dates back to his childhood, growing up in a household where it was the beverage of choice. The current partnership reflects that mutual relationship with Dale Jr. as both a driver and a team owner.


"Sun Drop was in the refrigerator from the minute I remember as a kid growing up,' Earnhardt Jr. said. 'It was everywhere in the house, everyone in the race shop was drinking it, every cooler had Sun Drop in it -- and there were a lot of coolers. Dad (Dale Sr.) was a loyal drinker of Sun Drop. It was always around."


Those memories run deep, and when Sun Drop first appeared on the No. 3 Sun Drop Chevrolet at North Wilkesboro Speedway in 2022, it was clear that the packed house shared that sentiment.


"I don’t think I knew then how unique the brand was to this area and how much it means to North Carolina and all of us in this area,” Earnhardt Jr. said. "Growing up with it in my life and introducing it to people -- it’s been fun."


The addition of Smith, who also came up driving Late Model Stock cars, to the field for the annual zMAX CARS Tour event at the revitalized North Wilkesboro track reflects that past glory.


Smith, who drives the No. 8 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, has run well in his races at North Wilkesboro, winning and finishing third in the Super Late Model division at NWS the past two seasons.


"I’m excited to get back to North Wilkesboro in the Cherry Lemon Sun Drop Chevrolet," Smith said. "The car looks awesome, with the Cherry Lemon Sun Drop colors on it, and hopefully it will look good and run well in May. With the race being on All-Star weekend again, hopefully we can get the Sun Drop colors in Victory Lane."

The 19-year-old driver is looking forward to the opportunity to join Kvapil for the race, which is fast becoming the signature event for the zMAX CARS Tour Presented by SoundGear.


"It’s very exciting. I can't thank Sun Drop enough, and Dale and JR Motorsports for the opportunity to run the Cherry Lemon Sun Drop car and do it at such a cool race track in North Wilkesboro. Being able to go racing mid-week is very cool for me, and to go back to what I grew up doing, racing Late Models, will be very special."


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