Dale Earnhardt Jr. Reveals New Destination for Annual Xfinity Start

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Getty Dale Earnhardt Jr. will head to a new track for his Xfinity Series start.

The 15-time Most Popular Driver has mixed up his schedule for the 2022 season. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has revealed that he will head to a new track for his annual NASCAR Xfinity Series start, and he will take on Martinsville Speedway.

Earnhardt made the announcement during the October 26 episode of “The Dale Jr. Download.” He confirmed that he will return to the Xfinity Series for another race in 2022, but he added that he will go to Martinsville Speedway, the famed short track in Virginia, on April 8, 2022, instead of Richmond Raceway.

“We’ve got an announcement to make before we move on to the next thing,” Earnhardt said during the episode. “The worst-kept secret in the Bojangles studio, to be honest with you. I think we’ve announced this, but I’m going to announce this again. For my Xfinity race next year for Unilever, I’m going to run at Martinsville. The very first Martinsville race. I think it’s in April. I’m not even sure.”

Martinsville Provides the Style of Racing That Earnhardt Prefers

The Hall of Fame inductee explained that he chose Martinsville due to the fact that he loves short tracks. He constantly faces questions about his favorite tracks, and he responds by saying that Martinsville or Bristol Motor Speedway are the ones that he prefers due to the style of short track action.

Earnhardt continued and explained that the NBC Sports broadcast can’t even cover the amount of action that takes place on the .526-mile oval. He said that the cameras have a hard time showing all of the bumping between drivers because there is so much going on at the same time.

Earnhardt added that he, Unilever, and Hellmann’s Mayonnaise will have a special campaign running during the trip to Martinsville. They will focus on reducing food waste considering that “something like 40%” of food ends up in the landfill. Hellmann’s, in particular, will unveil a social media campaign called “Fridge Hunters.”

“[Fridge Hunters] is to encourage people to take food that they might have otherwise thrown away so that others can make something tasty out of it,” Earnhardt said. “They want people to post their meals with the hashtag ‘FridgeHunters.’ They want to try to save a million meals from the landfill.”

The Xfinity Series Race at Martinsville Will be a New Experience

When Earnhardt heads to the short track on April 8, he will mark a big moment in his career. He will make his first Xfinity Series start at Martinsville after running at a multitude of other tracks.

Earnhardt has primarily focused on his part-time Xfinity Series starts on Richmond Raceway. He has run at the short track a total of nine times with four wins, including recent starts in the 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2021 seasons. He took on Darlington Raceway in 2019 and Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2020. However, Earnhardt has never started an Xfinity Series race at Martinsville.

While he hasn’t taken on the Virginia short track in the Xfinity Series, he has made 35 total starts at Martinsville in the NASCAR Cup Series. Earnhardt failed to win the grandfather clock in his first 29 attempts, finishing in second place two separate times (2008 and 2011). However, he finally broke through during the 2014 season.

Earnhardt held off Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman in the closing laps and passed Tony Stewart on the second to last turn to secure the checkered flag, his fourth of the season. He capped off a day in which he led 79 total laps and took the No. 88 Chevrolet to Victory Lane.

Struggles at Kansas, Charlotte, and Talladega eliminated Earnhardt from the playoffs, but he bounced back and achieved a lifelong dream the following week. He took home the grandfather clock while the other drivers looked ahead to their remaining opportunities to reach the championship four.

READ NEXT: Justin Haley Reaches Career Milestone at Martinsville