NASCAR: Dale Jr. makes big announcement after Martinsville

Dale Jr., JR Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Dale Jr., JR Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Dale Jr. said on his Instagram story following Friday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Martinsville Speedway that he plans to make another return next year.

Since retiring from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition at the end of the 2017 season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has returned to NASCAR for one Xfinity Series race each year, and he made his 2022 start on Friday night at Martinsville Speedway.

Martinsville Speedway became the fourth different track at which the 47-year-old Kannapolis, North Carolina native has competed since his retirement.

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Earnhardt, who drives in his one race per year for the JR Motorsports team he co-owns, finished in fourth place at Richmond Raceway in 2018, fifth at Darlington Raceway in 2019, fifth at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2020, and 14th in his return to Richmond Raceway in 2021.

He finished in 11th place at Martinsville Speedway on Friday night.

After he made his 2020 start at Homestead-Miami Speedway, there was some speculation, based on some of his own comments, that he may be done competing altogether.

He wasn’t.

Not only did he return for another race in both 2021 and 2022, meaning that he has now competed in NASCAR on some level for 27 consecutive seasons, but shortly after Friday night’s race ended, he confirmed that he has no plans to stop doing what he has done for the last five years now.

“I’m gonna look forward to the next one,” Earnhardt said in a video which he posted to his Instagram story. “We’ll try to go do another one next year. We just gotta figure out where we want to do that. Maybe Homestead again or something like that.”

While details are obviously still not confirmed, he added another comment toward the end of the video that all but solidifies his intent to return.

“We’ll see y’all again,” he continued. “I can’t wait to do this next season.”

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Earnhardt drove the #88 Chevrolet in Friday night’s race after driving the #8 Chevrolet in 2019, 2020 and 2021. He hadn’t driven the #88 Chevrolet since 2018.