Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired from racing at the end of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season, and he’s still retired. But the asterisk next to that major life change is that he’s no longer racing full-time.
One-off races are a different story.
So for the first time since November, Junior will get behind the wheel of a stock car and return to NASCAR for the second-tier XFINITY Series’ GoBowling 250 at Richmond Raceway on Friday.
He’ll be driving a fifth car for his team, JR Motorsports, which is co-owned by his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and Rick Hendrick, who Dale drove for in the Cup Series from 2008 to 2017. And, of course, it’s the No. 88 Chevrolet.
Consider many in JR Nation were devastated last year to learn Earnhardt was calling it quits, his return to the race track should have them overjoyed. It might be the last time he ever races a stock car — or perhaps the last time for a while.
Always willing to share his perspective and interact with his fans, Earnhardt explained Tuesday on Twitter why he is racing this weekend at Richmond.
But JR Nation wanted more details out of him, so here are his answers to five (probably) common questions about his brief return.
1. Why is Earnhardt actually coming back?
2. Will his longtime spotter and best friend, TJ Majors, be working on his team? What about former crew chief and current broadcasting team member Steve Letarte?
Majors is now the spotter for Joey Logano in the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske.
3. Does this mean one of JR Motorsports four full-time drivers is sitting Friday out?
4. There are 33 races on the XFINITY Series schedule, so why this one?
Earnhardt also probably wanted to make sure it was not too close to his daughter’s birth date — before or after — which was April 30.