NASCAR Xfinity Series: Dale Earnhardt Jr. to drive at Darlington Raceway

Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced Friday that is set to drive in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway in August this season.

One of the most popular NASCAR drivers of all-time will make a return this Labor Day weekend, fittingly at one of the sport’s most historic tracks.

Two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion and 15-time NASCAR Cup Series Most Popular Driver Award winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced on Twitter Friday that he will compete at NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, August 31. He is set to drive for the team that he co-owns, JR Motorsports.

Here is how Earnhardt Jr. subtly announced this news.

Though Earnhardt Jr. retired from full-time Cup Series competition at the end of the 2017 season, he has been open to running one-off races in the Xfinity series.

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Indeed, August’s race at the famed egg-shaped four-turn, 1.366-mile (2.198-kilometer) Darlington Raceway oval in Darlington, South Carolina will not be Earnhardt’s first return to Xfinity Series competition since taking a step away from full-time Cup Series competition to pursue a new career as a NASCAR analyst for NBC Sports.

Last September, he made his first return to competition at Richmond Raceway. He qualified in second place and finishes in fourth after leading a race-high 96 of the race’s 250 laps in his #88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, an impressive accomplishment for a driver who had not competed  in nearly a year.

Earnhardt Jr.’s Dirty Mo Media produced a 25-minute documentary titled The Return, which gave fans a behind the scenes look at this race and preparations for this race from Earnhardt Jr.’s prospective.

At Darlington Raceway, Earnhardt Jr. has only competed in four Xfinity Series races. With an average starting position of 22.5 and an average finishing position of 8.75, he knows how to work his way up through the field.

In his four Xfinity Series starts at the track, Earnhardt Jr. has never finished outside of the top 12. He has a top finish of second place, which he recorded in he September race at the track in the 1998 season. He has not competed in an Xfinity Series race at the track since September of 1999.

Many fans may wonder what inspired Earnhardt Jr. to decided compete in this event this season. Here’s what he had to say about the matter, according to NBC Sports:

"“(I’m) running it because of the throwback campaign they started there. I want to be part of it. I think it’s important.”"

Earnhardt Jr. also told NBC that he has a “cool throwback” planned for the race, though no other details have been announced.  However, with JR Motorsports recently acquiring the rights to use the #8 that Earnhardt Jr. made famous during his tenure driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc., it is not out of the realm of possibility that his car will be painted in a familiar Budweiser red.

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The NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway, the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200, is scheduled to be broadcast live on NBC starting at 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 31, so be sure not to miss it.