After attempting to qualify for every single NASCAR Xfinity Series event last season, Jesse Iwuji Motorsports will not compete on a full-time basis in the series for 2023, Kyle Weatherman tells TobyChristie.com.
The organization, which made its Xfinity Series debut in last year’s season-opener at Daytona, primarily placed Weatherman and team co-owner Jesse Iwuji behind the wheel of the No. 34 Chevrolet Camaro in 2022.
However, it hasn’t been the smoothest off-season for the Jesse Iwuji Motorsports camp.
In December, the single-car organization filed a lawsuit against Equity Prime Mortgage, seeking $ 4.125 million, alleging that the company committed a breach of their sponsorship contract.
Jesse Iwuji Motorsports offered EPM – a 14-race sponsor of the No. 34 – 30 days to remedy the missed payments, but the company failed to comply. However, EPM continued to promote itself, including primary sponsorship on the No. 34 at Talladega in October.
However, things have now gotten even more convoluted. According to a February 13 report from HW Media, EPM has now filed a countersuit against Jesse Iwuji Motorsports for allegedly breaching the sponsorship contract.
Equity Prime Mortgage now states that the organization broke its contract by changing the driver of the No. 34 Chevrolet Camaro, beginning in May 2022.
“At no time were there discussions of EPM agreeing to enter into a sponsorship agreement that provided for someone other than Jesse Iwuji driving the EPM-sponsored race car,” said attorneys for Equity Prime Mortgage, in reference to when the team elected to place Kyle Weatherman in the No. 34 to bolster performance.
According to NASCAR’s race results, Kyle Weatherman piloted an Equity Prime Mortgage-sponsored entry in five NASCAR Xfinity Series events last year, the first of which was at Charlotte in May.
Weatherman initially joined the team at Richmond, sometimes only participating in qualifying sessions to ensure Iwuji a spot in the field. However, as the year went on, the Wentzville, Missouri native became the team’s primary driver.
The 25-year-old was crucial in putting the organization on the map, running consistently on the lead lap while managing to collect four top-15 results by season’s end.
Despite the success of Weatherman, EPM’s counterclaim to not paying off its dues in sponsorship is in part because the team “unknowingly” changed the driver of the car mid-season.
With all the added drama, it’s made for a rocky start to 2023 for Jesse Iwuji Motorsports. Traveling down to Daytona without sponsorship on the No. 34 Chevrolet Camaro, the organization has yet to make a single announcement coming into the new season.
Jesse Iwuji Motorsports quietly returns to action in 2023, but won’t be running the full season at the moment, Kyle Weatherman tells me.
The team will likely skip the west coast swing, and Weatherman will return to the seat at Atlanta. Team is looking for sponsorship.#NASCAR pic.twitter.com/RBA9maZq2q
— RJ Starcevic (@RJStarcevic) February 17, 2023
“I’ll be back in the car at Atlanta,” Weatherman told TobyChristie.com at Daytona. “We won’t be running the full year, and probably won’t be out west. Unless you wanna sponsor the car.”
The three months between Phoenix and Daytona can change so much in the world of NASCAR. In this instance, that time has turned a team weighing options to run a second entry, into a team that will have to fight to remain on track in 2023.
Jesse Iwuji will take the track on Saturday, February 18 at 11:30 AM ET, where he’ll attempt to qualify for the season-opening Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. 300 at Daytona International Speedway.