Following months of anticipation, Dale Earnhardt Jr. officially announced he will compete at Richmond Raceway later this season. The NASCAR Hall of Famer has maintained the tradition of racing in one event a year in retirement. Earnhardt Jr.‘s latest move led him to answer a lingering question around his future behind the wheel.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will compete at Richmond Raceway on Sept. 11
Since heading into retirement after the 2017 season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has maintained a tradition of competing in at least one Xfinity Series race each year.
The 46-year-old will keep that rolling in the 2021 campaign after announcing that he will participate in an Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway on Sept. 11. His car will pay tribute to all those that passed away on Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since that terrible day,” Earnhardt said via Twitter. “The spirit of unity and togetherness our country felt on Sept. 11 is just as relevant now as it was then. I’m honored to be driving this car, and championing Unilever’s United for America program.”
Earnhardt Jr. has utilized JR Motorsports to continue the trend in retirement. In 2018, he got behind the wheel at Richmond for the Go Bowling 250, where he finished fourth.
He followed that experience up with a fifth-place finish at the 2019 Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway. Earnhardt Jr.’s most recent race came last year after he finished fifth in the Contender Boats 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Although he officially announced the one event he will compete in this year, the Hall of Famer also confirmed another lingering speculation around his racing future.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. confirms he wants to race on 1 NASCAR track beyond 2021
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s decision to participate at Richmond Motor Speedway on Sept. 11 came as a bit of a surprise.
Many insiders initially circled competing at Darlington Raceway this month as the most logical choice. During the latest edition of the “Ask JR” portion of the Dale Jr. Download podcast on Tuesday, Earnhardt Jr. dropped a sly detail concerning his future on the NASCAR track.
“I like to run the short tracks and are there’s only a couple to choose from,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I’d want to eventually run Martinsville. That’s still a plan for me going forward.”
Dale Jr.’s preference for shorter tracks has guided him toward Martinsville, where he has never competed in an Xfinity race. Earnhardt Jr. has 35 career Cup Series starts on the course, with his lone victory in 2014.
The 46-year-old’s comments confirm that he isn’t done competing once a year on the NASCAR track. It’s hard to imagine that he won’t get the chance to race at Martinsville down the line.
High expectations for his return on the NASCAR track
Although Earnhardt Jr. has limited himself to one race per year, he has performed exceptionally well in those events.
In each of the last three years, he finished within the top five. He had the opportunity to etch out a win last year at Miami-Homestead but fell short in the final few laps.
This time around, the challenge will be steeper as Earnhardt Jr. won’t have any practice laps on the course. NASCAR hasn’t allowed drivers this year to go that route before events due to the health and safety protocol.
Nonetheless, Earnhardt Jr. will be back on the track where he could grab his 25th career Xfinity Series win.