On Monday, Jesse Iwuji Motorsports – a brand-new NASCAR Xfinity Series team co-owned by Jesse Iwuji and Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith — announced a brand-new partnership with Chevrolet for the 2022 season.
The organization, which originally announced its full-time intentions in August, will field the No. 34 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, with team co-owner handling the driving duties in all 33 events.
Jesse Iwuji Motorsports will be provided with engineering support from Chevrolet, as well as assistance from the manufacturer in developing the team’s crew members. Matt Casto, team co-owner, adds that the organization will have a full-season engine lease from Hendrick Motorsports.
“There couldn’t be a more authentic manufacturer partnership for me than the one with Chevrolet,” said Iwuji. “When I decided to pursue a professional racing career, I started getting seat time in my Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06, which I still own today. The story of going from the Navy to NASCAR and having my Corvette play a key part in that journey makes this partnership not only authentic but inspirational for any person out there looking to accomplish big goals and dreams. This journey gives people hope and shows how much life truly rewards those who stay strong enough, long enough.”
At this time, Jesse Iwuji Motorsports is working out of the JD Motorsports shop and will be utilizing chassis from the long-time Xfinity Series operation in its inaugural season, which has also provided the No. 34 with owner points from the team’s No. 6 entry, ranked 26th in 2021 NXS OP.
“I’ve known Jesse for several years, and I love his passion, drive, and persistence,” said Jim Campbell, vice president, Chevrolet Performance and Motorsports. “When Chevy learned of his aspirations to form a team along with Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith, we looked forward to the opportunity to work together on and off the track. We are excited to announce this partnership and go racing in 2022 starting with Daytona.”
Jason Houghtailing – a long-time crew chief in NASCAR’s top-three series — will call the shots for Iwuji’s No. 34 Chevrolet Camaro. Houghtailing tells TobyChristie.com that the team’s goal is to qualify for, and finish, every race, as the team’s Chevrolet affiliation gives increasing perks for better performances.
Iwuji first met Emmitt Smith when the Football Hall of Famer sponsored an entry driven by the Navy Reserve officer at a race in 2020. Fast-forward, one year later, and the pairing has founded Jesse Iwuji Motorsports.
“First, our team could not be more excited about the partnership with Chevrolet because of what it means to our race team and fans as we get our footing in NASCAR,” said Smith. “It was vital to align to a manufacturer that not only provided us with the very best in technology but also believed in supporting Jesse, believed in the great men and woman that defend our country, believed in diversity and believed in everything that our team stands for. Jesse Iwuji Motorsports is thrilled to have Chevy play a vital role in our mission to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion in racing and join in the development of Jesse as he chases his dream.”
The Carrollton, Texas-native has made five prior NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, for MBM Motorsports, BJ McLeod Motorsports, and Mike Harmon Racing, scoring a best finish of 23rd-place in his home race at Texas Motor Speedway.
“We are excited to have Jesse and Emmitt join our Chevrolet racing family,” said Eric Warren, Chevrolet director of NASCAR Programs. “I respect that Jesse puts effort into continuously improving whatever he does. I grew up watching and cheering the competitive spirit of Emmitt. We will help guide this young team and provide engineering resources to accelerate them along the path to winning races.”
TobyChristie.com was at the NASCAR Hall of Fame for the event, and captured video of the car being officially unveiled, which you can watch on YouTube: