Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains a prominent part of the NASCAR scene even in retirement. Earnhardt Jr. has worked to maintain a heavy involvement with the sport. Through that, it has given way to his desire to get behind the wheel to persist.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR career
Dale Earnhardt Jr. strung together a NASCAR career that spanned over two decades on the track.
Earnhardt Jr. carved out his own lane of success that began with a pair of Xfinity Series championships. He followed it up with a nearly two-decade career as a full-time Cup Series driver.
During that span, he garnered 26 career wins, a pair of Daytona 500 victories, and 260 top-ten finishes. His lengthy career also helped him earn a 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction.
As he moves through retirement, he still can’t shake loose a lingering desire.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. can’t escape the itch to compete on a NASCAR track
Since stepping into retirement, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has more than kept his pulse on NASCAR.
Earnhardt Jr. has stayed heavily involved well beyond running JR Motorsports, as he has taken on broadcast duties for NBC Sports covering races. He also runs a weekly podcast, Dale Jr. Download, where he interviews many guests with strong connections to the sport.
Through all that, it hasn’t waned his desire and passion for driving despite being in retirement. During an interview with Jeff Gordon on behalf of AXALTA World Racing in June 2019, Earnhardt Jr. voiced that he hasn’t shaken the itch for driving.
“I had so much fun racing in the 24 Hours at Daytona,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “It doesn’t have to be that race specifically, but I watch Ray Everham do it and have so much fun in Indianapolis or wherever they go. They just cut up and enjoy it. It’s low pressure.
“When I think about driving and what I miss. I don’t 400 miles. I just want to drive it.”
Earnhardt Jr.’s desire to get back behind the wheel isn’t nailed down to one race or even running an entire event. He also pointed out that he doesn’t miss the whole week’s work of preparation that comes with the territory. Earnhardt Jr. stated that he would love to even get on a track for a practice run just for the sake of doing it.
His pure love for driving isn’t something that has escaped him by any means in retirement.
Racing continues in retirement
In his first few years in retirement, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has kept his foot in the pool with driving on a NASCAR track.
Through JR Motorsports, he has built up the tradition of competing in at least one Xfinity race. In 2018, Earnhardt Jr. got behind the wheel at Richmond Raceway for the Go Bowling 250, finishing fourth.
He followed that up with a fifth-place finish at the 2019 Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway. His most recent event came in 2020 as he took fifth place in the Contender Boats 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The 46-year-old has kept the door open to getting back behind the wheel in the 2021 season for another Xfinity race. The only news on that front is that he will be driving his dad’s 1984 Chevy Nova as the pace car for an Xfinity event at Darlington in May.
Nonetheless, Earnhardt Jr. isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and could race a few more times again if he desires.