ThatsRacin

Retired NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. will race again in 2019, at least one time

Former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. made a one-week return to driving last weekend during the Xfinity Series race at Richmond, which he said helped reaffirm his decision to retire when he did.
Former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. made a one-week return to driving last weekend during the Xfinity Series race at Richmond, which he said helped reaffirm his decision to retire when he did. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

He might be retired as a full-time NASCAR driver, but that doesn’t mean Dale Earnhardt Jr. is done racing for good.

Earnhardt, the 16-time winner of NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver award during his Cup Series career, retired from racing full-time at the end of the 2017 season. But then in 2018, he got back behind the wheel for one more race, the Xfinity Series Go Bowling 250 at Richmond Raceway, where he ultimately finished fourth.

Now it appears he has at least one more race left in him.

Earnhardt confirmed on Twitter on Friday morning that he will be racing in this year’s Xfinity Series event at Darlington Raceway, the Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200. The race, which is on Aug. 31, is Earnhardt’s only scheduled race for the 2019 season.



When asked by a fan if Earnhardt, now a NASCAR television analyst for NBC, would consider broadcasting a race from inside the car, the former driver responded he already had a plan to get back behind the wheel.

“Come to @TooToughToTame (Darlington Raceway) this year,” Earnhardt responded. “I’m running the @XfinityRacing race.”

Earnhardt told the Observer after his 2018 Richmond race that he would only consider running one-off events in the future if it meant more sponsorship for his other teams at JR Motorsports. For example, if a company calls and wants Earnhardt in the car for a race, they could so long as they were willing to sponsor the car for other races, too.

Earnhardt retired from full-time Cup racing after the 2017 season for a number of reasons, including longtime health consequences from numerous concussions suffered during his career, as well as the desire to start a family. Earnhardt’s wife Amy gave birth to their first child, Isla Rose, on May 1, 2018.

Even in retirement, Earnhardt has been active in the NASCAR community through his new role as a race analyst for NBC.

Still, there’s a big difference between watching races and running them.

And at least for one more time this August, fans will get to see Earnhardt do the latter..

Brendan Marks is a general assignment sports reporter for the Charlotte Observer covering the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, NASCAR and more. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has worked for the Observer since August 2017.

  Comments