Since retiring from full-time NASCAR Cup series competition after the 2017 season, Earnhardt Jr. has run select Xfinity races every year since.

He normally picks short tracks, such as Martinsville Speedway, Richmond Raceway, but also Darlington Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Last year, he ran two races, including one at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Driving the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, he led 47 laps and was in contention for the win in the closing laps.

Unfortunately, while running inside the top-five, he abruptly pulled off track as smoke filled the cockpit. His race was over just shy of the finish, finishing 30th. The bottom of his uniform actually burned after the shifter tunnel column caught on fire, forcing him to pull out of the race.

“We had a positive wire short up at the top of the dash, and the casing on the wire melted down onto the leg brace and caught the foam in the leg brace and the cloth cover of the leg brace on fire, so it burned the leg off my uniform,” Earnhardt Jr. said of the event. “It was like another lap, and I was probably gonna be blistered up. But, no burns on my leg. Just barely escaped. I was disappointed to have to get out “We were gonna run fourth or better.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr, JR Motorsports, Hellmann's Chevrolet Camaro

Dale Earnhardt Jr, JR Motorsports, Hellmann’s Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Gavin Baker / NKP / Motorsport Images

He will be back behind the wheel of the No. 88 machine at Bristol on September 20th with primary sponsorship from Hellmann’s. The company has signed a multi-year contract extension with JRM.

The Bristol race also serves as the regular season finale for the NXS drivers and teams. The 49-year-old has ever intended to continue to run these one-off races.

“I’ll run as long as I can,” Earnhardt said last year after the Bristol race. “I like running one here and there. I think I still feel young. “I overachieved tonight in my eyes in terms of how I ran, so I guess that gave me some confidence to try to do to one here and there for a couple more years.”

Earnhardt has won at the iconic half-mile short track in both the Cup and Xfinity Series during his career. The upcoming Bristol race will be his 147th Xfinity Series start, searching for his 25th career win. He is a two-time champion of the secondary NASCAR division, winning the title in both 1998 and 1999.

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