Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Make One-Off NASCAR Return at Darlington Xfinity Race
NASCAR’s most popular last name is coming out of retirement for the throwback race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. plans to come out of retirement to drive in at least one NASCAR Xfinity Series race in 2019. He confirmed via Twitter on Friday, when responding to a fan question, that he’d compete in the Xfinity Series round at Darlington Raceway on Aug. 31.
The tweet was a response to a fan question after Joe Gibbs Racing revealed one of Martin Truex Jr.’s 2019 Cup Series liveries.
Earnhardt Jr. retired from full-time competition in the Cup Series at the end of the 2017 season, but he continues as a car owner in the Xfinity Series, in addition to his role as broadcaster for NASCAR races on NBC and the NBC Sports Network. He told NBC Sports he was "running it because of the throwback campaign they started there. I want to be part of it. I think it’s important.”
Darlington’s annual NASCAR weekend has had a retro theme the last handful of years for which competing teams dress their cars in old-school schemes and some even wear throwback uniforms. Earnhardt Jr. is a self-proclaimed stock car racing history buff and even hosted a NASCAR show called “Back in the Day” on the now-defunct Speed Channel.
Earnhardt Jr. competed in one Xfinity Series race last season, at Richmond Raceway in Virginia. In a car fielded by his JR Motorsports team, he finished fourth after leading 96 laps, the most of any driver in the race. He is a two-time champion of the Xfinity Series, winning titles in 1998 and 1999, his only two full-time seasons in the series. He continued to race part-time in the Xfinity Series throughout his NASCAR Cup Series career. In all, he has 24 wins in 140 Xfinity Series races.