NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Says He’s Feeling ‘Pretty Good’ Ahead of Martinsville Start

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Though NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired from full-time competition back in 2017, he still makes time for one Xfinity Series race per year. This year, Dale Earnhardt Jr chose the Call 811 Before You Dig 250 in the Martinsville Speedway.

The 26-time NASCAR Cup Series winner has raced in the Martinsville Speedway before. However, this Friday’s race marks his first time competing in the 0.526-mile oval for an Xfinity Series contest.

That said, the NASCAR veteran doesn’t seem to be nervous in the slightest. On the contrary, Dale Jr and the JR Motorsports team are hard at work getting the finishing touches just right on the No. 88 Chevrolet. In a message posted to his Twitter account, Earnhardt shared his excitement for Friday’s race.

“I sat in my Xfinity Hellman’s Chevy today to make sure everything fits,” Earnhardt wrote. “I made some engine sounds, I turned the wheel, wrestling the car through a fictitious corner, I tilted my head against the imaginary g forces, I mashed the pedals and shifted the gears. Felt pretty good tbh.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr Reveals Why He Chose Martinsville Speedway for Annual Race

With only one NASCAR race per year, Dale Earnhardt Jr has a big choice to make ahead of each season. There are 26 Xfinity Series races in the regular season, and though some tracks are repeats, the majority are unique week to week. With that in mind, why did Dale Earnhardt Jr choose the Martinsville Speedway?

On a recent episode of the Dale Jr. Download podcast, Dale Jr explained the thought process behind his decision. “I love short tracks. When it comes down to it, short track racing is what I love to do,” said Earnhardt.

“Races at Martinsville are always a blast, so I’m really excited about this opportunity. Unilever has been a great partner, and I’m thankful to them for allowing me to go race at Martinsville. I’m going to get in there in the thick of it and have some fun.”

If anyone is more excited for Dale Jr’s appearance in the Xfinity Series race than Dale Jr himself, it’s Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. In a statement posted to the Martinsville Speedway website, Campbell shared what it means to have the NASCAR icon on the Virginia short track.

“For our 75th anniversary, we are proud to welcome back NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. to join our celebration season on the track at Martinsville Speedway,” said Campbell. “Dale Jr. is one of the most popular and intense racers in the history of Martinsville, so we look forward to seeing him return to competition next season.”