Why Dale Earnhardt Jr. Has No Plans to Return to Top-Level NASCAR Racing

·1 min read
Photo credit: Grant Halverson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Grant Halverson - Getty Images

It’s a familiar sight at Daytona International Speedway—Dale Earnhardt Jr. turning fast laps around stock car racing’s most famous track.

Don’t get used to it, Earnhardt said Wednesday. Although he said he has enjoyed running test laps for Hendrick Motorsports during NASCAR’s two days of testing here, he has no plans to return to high-stakes racing.

“I’m old—47 years old,” Earnhardt said. “I was talking to (Hendrick driver) William Byron. He’s young (24). He’s a risk-taker. I’m done taking risks. I’ve got two little girls I love being around. I’ve put my wife through a lot. She put everything in her world on pause for eight to 10 years so we could do this.

“Once you get to a certain age, you’re not willing to go out there and put it all on the line. In that case, I don’t know if you need to be competing. I don’t know that I have that instinct anymore.”

Earnhardt, who retired from full-time driving after the 2017 season, is a race analyst for NBC Sports. He worked out a deal with the Hendrick team, his former employer, to run laps during the Daytona tests primarily so he could become more familiar with the new NextGen car.

He said he plans to continue to run an occasional race in the Xfinity Series for his own team.

Earnhardt will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Jan. 21.

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting