NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. knows where he’ll compete in 2021

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

Dale Earnhardt Jr. knows the track at which he will compete in his one start during the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.

Ever since stepping away from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition at the end of the 2017 season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been a member of the NBC broadcast booth for Cup Series races.

But the 45-year-old Kannapolis, North Carolina native is by no means completely done driving.

Earnhardt, who owns Xfinity Series team JR Motorsports, has still competed in one Xfinity Series race per year since he retired from full-time Cup Series competition.

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In 2018, he wheeled his #88 Chevrolet to a fourth place finish at Richmond Raceway after leading a race-high 96 of 250 laps. In 2019, he crossed the finish line in sixth behind the wheel of his #8 Chevrolet at Darlington Raceway and was then promoted to fifth after race winner Denny Hamlin was disqualified.

Then this past season, he drove his #8 Chevrolet to another fifth place finish, this time at Homestead-Miami Speedway. While there were rumors that this start would be his last, he later confirmed that he would be back again in 2021.

This decision marks 47 consecutive years of an Earnhardt competing in NASCAR.

When he made that announcement, the track at which he would compete in 2021 was still unknown.

Now he knows, but he can’t say where yet.

“I do know where I’m going to be driving in the Xfinity Series, but we haven’t announced it yet, so I’m not really allowed to tell you, but it’s somewhere that I’ve raced before in the last couple of years,” Earnhardt told Beyond the Flag.

Earnhardt, who also made another exciting announcement about a new partnership with Nicorette in which he hopes to encourage smokers to stop smoking like he was able to do several years ago, had wanted to compete at Martinsville Speedway, but he confirmed that he won’t be competing in either race at the track.

He is set to compete with primary sponsorship from Hellmann’s wherever he goes, just as he did in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

“It’s not going to be Martinsville where I wanted to go,” he stated. “Hellmann’s and the guys, they need a little bit of time to sort of activate the sponsorship and get their money’s worth, and we need to allow them to be able to maximize that. For what we ask of them, they deserve that much from us.

“And they cannot activate in time to be able to run the first Martinsville race, so that knocks that one off the list, because Martinsville is where I wanted to go. I do not want to run that last Martinsville race because that’s in the middle of the playoffs and I don’t want to be any part of that storyline, so I’m going to completely avoid any of those races in the playoffs next year.”

The first of two races at Martinsville Speedway in 2021 is scheduled to take place on Friday, April 9, while the playoff race is scheduled to conclude the round of 8 on Saturday, October 30.

“But we’ll have an announcement soon on where that race track is,” he concluded. “I’m sure some of you guys can kind of guess where it might be, but I’m really looking forward to it because I love being behind the wheel.”

With Earnhardt set to run somewhere he has raced in the last couple of years, that narrows it down to Richmond Raceway, Darlington Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

It is unlikely that he would return to Homestead-Miami Speedway for a second straight year, especially since that race is scheduled to be just the second of the season on Saturday, February 20.

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The race at Richmond Raceway is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 11 and the two races at Darlington Raceway are scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 8 and Saturday, September 4.