NASCAR Xfinity Series: Dale Earnhardt Jr. to race Bristol & Miami

Fifteen-time most popular driver, two-time Xfinity Series champion, and five-time Xfinity Series championship-winning owner, Dale Jr. will be back in a race car this Friday at Bristol, and later at Homestead Miami Speedway. Let’s look back at some of his other starts in the Xfinity Series since his retirement.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., voted fifteen-time most popular driver is returning to the race track this Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Driving the #88 Chevrolet for his team, JR Motorsports, this will be the first of two starts for Junior in 2023. He will also make a start at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Earnhardt Jr. won the 1998 and 1999 Xfinity Series championships (then the Busch Series) but has created a championship powerhouse with his Xfinity Series team. Since 2004, JRM has won ninety-three Xfinity races and two Truck Series races. With those race wins, the team has won five championships, with Martin Truex Jr.Chase Elliott, William Byron, and Tyler Reddick.

Since his retirement in 2017, Junior has made a single Xfinity Series start, starting in 2018 with the fall Xfinity race at Richmond and most recently the spring race at Martinsville in 2022. Let’s examine these races and see if we can predict how Earnhardt Jr.’s runs this year will turn out.

2018 Go Bowling 250:

The 2018 Go Bowling 250 at Richmond Raceway was Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first race back in NASCAR since retirement. Jr. picked Richmond because of the love he has for the track. In his career, he won seven races at Richmond, three in the Cup Series, and four in the Xfinity Series. Earnhardt Jr. qualified his car second, finished third in stage one, and won stage two. He would lead ninety-six laps and finish fourth.

2019 Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200:

Earnhardt would join the Xfinity Series on their throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway. The throwback paint scheme on his car would honor his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr’s first Cup Series start at the 1975 World 600. His father would go on to win seven Cup Series championships, seventy-six race wins, and be considered by many to be the greatest stock car driver of all time.

It was unsure if Junior would even race at Darlington. Just sixteen days earlier, Earnhardt and his family were in a fiery plane crash in Tennessee. Earnhardt Jr. was heading to Bristol for his duties as a commenter for NBC Sports.

Junior would qualify fourteenth for the race. He would finish eighth in both stages and finish the race in fifth place.

Chase Briscoe and Dale Earnhardt Jr. during the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200.








2020 Hooters 250:

Not even COVID-19 could keep Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of an Xfinity car. Junior picked Homestead-Miami for his Xfinity race in 2020. He picked this race track because of the high line that allows drivers to run right against the wall, a challenge that rewards drivers with impressive speeds both through the corners and on the straights. The Xfinity Series car runs a composite body that has some flexibility, much more forgiving if a driver were to hit the wall.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. would qualify in the twelfth position. He would lead four laps and finish fifth.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. , driver of the #8 Hellman's Chevrolet stands on the grid prior to the 2020 Hooter's 250.

2021 Go Bowling 250:

Racing on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Dale Jr. would have a patriotic paint scheme for the race. Junior won the first race after the sport was postponed following the attacks, celebrating with an American flag and doing donuts on the start-finish line. An iconic moment in NASCAR’s history.

This race was one where we got to see the talents of both Dale Jr. and the Xfinity Series field. Earnhardt would qualify thirtieth. He would make contact with the #92 of Josh Williams, who said “I don’t care if he’s a hero or not, he keeps jacking me up!”. The two would laugh about the incident, and Williams was just happy to get to race with a hall-of-fame driver.

Dale Jr. would finish the race in fourteenth.

2022 Call 811 Before You Dig 250:

His most recent race, the spring Xfinity race at Martinsville Speedway in 2022, is arguably his most exciting. The racing at Martinsville is full of cautions and contact. This race was no exception, with sixteen cautions during the race. Earnhardt would qualify thirtieth and finish eleventh but ran as high as fifth.

The highlight of the race was the joy in Dale Jr.’s voice. After making it through the big one on lap 252, you could hear his excitement through the radio. Following the race, he brought a cooler full of refreshments out and hung out on pit road with all the other drivers in the Xfinity Series. A true steward for the sport of NASCAR.

How will Dale Earnhardt Jr. do in 2023?

Looking at Dale Jr.’s Xfinity Series statistics for both Bristol and Homestead-Miami, he might have a good chance at a series of top-ten finishes. At Bristol in the Xfinity Series, he has two pole awards, one race win, and nine top tens. If he can avoid the wrecks, Junior could be a threat for a top five.

At Homestead-Miami, he has not won a race. He does have four top-ten finishes, his most recent coming in 2020. I think this race could be Dale Jr.’s best shot at a victory. Last year, Noah Gragson won this race for JR Motorsports and all of the other JRM cars finished inside the top-eleven. If JRM can bring that same speed they brought last year, I think he is guaranteed another top-five and possibly the win.

If Dale Jr. wins an Xfinity race, it would be one of the best moments of the season. A beloved driver, fifteen-time most popular driver, getting back into victory lane would send NASCAR fans going crazy.

The Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway kicks off at 7:30 PM ET, September 15th. Tune in to see how Dale Earnhardt Jr. will finish.