Dale Earnhardt Jr. Set to Put in Some Laps at Daytona; but There’s a Catch

Published 01/11/2022, 5:25 AM EST
RICHMOND, VA – SEPTEMBER 11: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 11, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)


One of NASCAR’s biggest names will be making his comeback to one of NASCAR’s biggest venues. This is because Dale Earnhardt Jr. will put in a few laps at Daytona for Hendrick Motorsports.

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But before all the fans lose their minds in delight, it should be pointed out that Dale Jr. is merely entering Daytona as a test driver for HMS.

Earnhardt described how since most of Hendrick drivers are taking part in the Chili Bowl, he took the opportunity at hand. He got in touch with Chad Knaus, Vice President of Competition at HMS, “asking him if they would let me run a few laps at the test.”

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Yet now, despite a glimmer of hope his fans might have of his return to the Daytona 500, Dale Jr. says that isn’t happening anytime soon.

“I know that people are going to want to know if I’m going to run a race or maybe run the Daytona 500 someday,” Earnhardt said. “Never say never. But this is not done with the intention of moving in that direction at all,” he added.

Earnhardt also described how if he ever ran another race, something like filling in for a vacant testing slot wouldn’t be the way he’d go about it.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 23: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates with the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Daytona will always be a special place for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Speaking about his coming testing sessions back at Daytona, the JR Motorsports owner expressed how much the venue means to him. “It definitely is a special place to me. I think, it’s like you say, an opportunity that I never expected and didn’t know that I would ever have the chance to experience again,” he said.

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But it isn’t as if he left any stone unturned at Daytona in his career. At the historic venue, Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 twice, won two July Cup races, five qualifying races, two Busch Clashes, and six races in the Xfinity Series.

While there’s no indication or even the briefest of speculation as to when exactly it will happen, but hey, the guy said ‘never say never.’

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So we wish and hope to see Dale Jr. going bumper-to-bumper, wheel-to-wheel at Daytona 500 soon.

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Shaharyar

466 articles

Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.

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