NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes long-awaited announcement

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

The location of one of Dale Jr.’s two starts during the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season has long been confirmed, but the other one hadn’t been until now.

With Unilever returning for a 15th consecutive season as a sponsor of the JR Motorsports NASCAR Xfinity Series team, team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. is once again set to compete in an Xfinity Series race in 2023.

Since retiring from full-time competition upon the conclusion of the 2017 campaign, the 48-year-old Kannapolis, North Carolina native has competed in one Xfinity Series race per year with sponsorship from Unilever’s Hellmann’s brand.

He made starts at Richmond Raceway in 2018 and 2021 and also competed at Darlington Raceway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Martinsville Speedway in 2019, 2020, and 2022, respectively.

In the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, Dale Jr. is set to drive the No. 88 Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway.

This race is the playoff opener, and it is scheduled for Friday, September 15. However, unlike in previous seasons, this confirmation from Earnhardt, JR Motorsports, and Unilever didn’t not completely solidify his schedule.

There was still one more announcement coming.

Just before the 2022 season came to an end, JR Motorsports and longtime sponsor Bass Pro Shops announced a renewed and expanded partnership, and they confirmed that Earnhardt would run one race with sponsorship from the outdoor and conservation company on his No. 88 Chevrolet in 2023.

Where Earnhardt makes this start wasn’t announced at the time, and there was no timetable on an official confirmation. The No. 88 Chevrolet is a part-time entry that doesn’t have any other confirmed drivers for oval races throughout the 33-race season, so theoretically, all options were on the table, aside from Miguel Paludo’s three road course events.

Now it has been confirmed that Earnhardt is set to compete in the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, October 21.

The 2023 season is set to be Earnhardt’s 28th consecutive season competing in NASCAR on some level, and it is already the 49th consecutive season with an Earnhardt competing in the sport, since Jeffrey Earnhardt competes for Alpha Prime Racing in the Xfinity Series.

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Earnhardt hasn’t competed in two Xfinity Series races in a season since 2017, which was his 18th and final season as a full-time Cup Series driver. He competed at Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond Raceway that year.