Dale Earnhardt Jr. Using Xfinity Series Start for Fundraising Efforts

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Getty Dale Earnhardt Jr. teased his return in April.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series on April 8 for his lone start of the 2022 season. He will drive the No. 88 at Martinsville Speedway while raising money to combat food insecurity.

The Dale Jr. Foundation announced the news on April 5 with a press release. The organization provided a look at Earnhardt’s steering wheel that he will use during the Martinsville race before auctioning it off to raise money for partner charities. The wheel, produced by Max Papis’ MPI® in Italy, will feature TrueTimber’s Viper Urban Orange camouflage pattern and a massive JR Motorsports logo.

The auction for the race-used wheel will begin on Friday, April 8, when Earnhardt makes his return to the Xfinity Series. The auction will continue through Monday, April 11, at 3 p.m. ET. The starting bid will be $270.

“Food insecurity is a growing trend in today’s society, and we are excited to see Dale Jr. raise awareness for this important cause through the creation of this exclusive, one-of-a-kind steering wheel,” said Regina Smith, director of The Dale Jr. Foundation. “Our partner, TrueTimber® Camo, provided the digital camouflage for the wheel and Max and his company, MPI®, helped bring it to life.”

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Earnhardt Will Showcase a Fan-Selected Scheme

When the two-time Xfinity Series champion makes his return to the track, he will showcase a special scheme. He will head out to the starting grid with a Unilever/Hellmann’s design selected by the NASCAR fans.

Earnhardt revealed the design on his Instagram profile on December 7. He explained in a video that a JR Motorsports designer named Ryan Williams came up with multiple designs. The fans were able to vote on their favorite, which became a reality at the end of 2021.

Earnhardt will highlight the white, blue, and yellow scheme when he heads to Martinsville Speedway for the first time as an Xfinity Series driver. He has 35 starts at the Paperclip in the Cup Series, but he hasn’t competed at the short track in the Xfinity Series. Martinsville Speedway was not on the series schedule from 1995 until its return at the end of 2006.

Earnhardt Will Begin His Weekend Early

The NASCAR Hall of Famer will not compete on a Saturday as in years past. Instead, he will head to the track on Friday, April 8, to race under the lights. He will also take part in some on-track action the previous day.

The Xfinity Series drivers will first head out onto Martinsville Speedway on Thursday, April 7. They will take part in practice and qualifying sessions, starting at 5:30 p.m. ET (FS1). 43 cars will try to qualify for the 38-car field, but Earnhardt should have a guaranteed spot with the past champions provisional.

Once the starting grid is official, the 38 cars will prepare for the second short track race of the year. They will then complete 250 laps around the .526-mile track, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1). Earnhardt will be among this group as he pursues at least the 95th top-10 finish of his Xfinity Series career.

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