NASCAR: Dale Jr.’s one small change in his 2023 plans

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. plans to compete in two races during the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, something he hasn’t done since retiring from full-time Cup Series competition.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. made his NASCAR debut in the 1996 Xfinity Series (then Busch Series) season, and he has competed in the sport on some level ever since.

He competed part-time in the series in 1996 and 1997 before competing full-time in 1998 and 1999, and he made his Cup Series debut in 1999 before becoming a full-time driver in 2000.

Earnhardt competed full-time at NASCAR’s top level every year from 2000 until retiring following the 2017 season.

But even after retiring, he didn’t step away from racing entirely.

Every year from 2018 to 2022, the 48-year-old Kannapolis, North Carolina native made one start in the Xfinity Series, doing so for the JR Motorsports team he co-owns with his sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller.

He made two starts at Richmond Raceway (2018 and 2021) and one at each of Darlington Raceway (2019), Homestead-Miami Speedway (2020), and Martinsville Speedway (2022), and he competed with primary sponsorship from Unilever’s Hellmann’s brand in all five races.

The 2023 season is set to be his 28th straight season of NASCAR competition, extending an Earnhardt family streak that goes back nearly five decades, but there is one small change.

As a result of a renewed and expanded partnership between the Chevrolet organization and longtime sponsor Bass Pro Shops, the outdoor and conservation company is set to sponsor Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet in one race.

This race is in addition to his annual race with Hellmann’s.

Earnhardt hasn’t competed in more than one race in a season since 2017. In addition to competing full-time in the Cup Series for the 18th and final time that year, he also competed in two Xfinity Series race that year, one at Bristol Motor Speedway and another one at Richmond Raceway.

The locations for Earnhardt’s two starts during the 2023 season have not yet been determined.

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The 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season is scheduled to begin on Saturday, February 18 with the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. 300. Fox Sports 1 is set to broadcast the race live from Daytona International Speedway beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET.