NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. announcement looming

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has yet to confirm where he will compete in the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season but still has plans to do so.

While he floated the idea of his NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Homestead-Miami Speedway back in mid-June potentially being his 775th and final start across NASCAR’s three national series, 15-time Most Popular Driver Award winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. confirmed in October that he is set to return to the Xfinity Series for another race in 2021.

He has competed for JR Motorsports, the team he co-owns, in one Xfinity Series race per season every year since 2018, the year after he retired from a full-time Cup Series career that saw him win 26 races, including two Daytona 500s, over the course of 18 years as a full-time driver.

However, he has not yet confirmed where he will make his 2021 start behind the wheel of the Hellmann’s-sponsored #8 Chevrolet. He has, however, effectively narrowed it down.

He had wanted to compete at Martinsville Speedway, but he has confirmed that that won’t happen when the series is scheduled to travel there in April.

“It’s not going to be Martinsville where I wanted to go,” Earnhardt told Beyond the Flag after discussing his new partnership with Nicorette last month.

“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.”

Martinsville Speedway does host a playoff race in October as well, but he has no interest in competing in that race.

“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,” he added.

He has effectively narrowed it down to three options, although one can be crossed off the list immediately because of timing.

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“It’s somewhere that I’ve raced before in the last couple of years…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.”

He competed at Homestead-Miami Speedway this past season, but it is unlikely that he would run there twice in a row. Additionally, that is only the third race of the season in late February, which would presumably be too soon for Hellmann’s given the fact that the Martinsville Speedway race in April was not late enough.

Since his Cup Series retirement, he has made his other two starts in the Xfinity Series at Richmond Raceway in 2018 and Darlington Raceway in 2019. He finished in fourth place in the former and fifth in the latter after initial race winner Denny Hamlin was disqualified, which promoted him from sixth.

With all things considered, including the 2021 schedule itself and when these tracks are scheduled to host races, you can probably deduce where Earnhardt is going to compete in 2021.

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Where will Dale Earnhardt Jr. compete in the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season? We should know the definitive answer to that question in the near future.