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What Can We Expect from Dale Earnhardt Jr. At Bristol?

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Joshua Lipowski

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return behind the wheel this weekend at Bristol by running in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the track on Friday night. There is a lot of understandable excitement from fans regarding seeing Dale Jr. race once again. This got us thinking, what can we expect from Dale Jr. at Bristol?

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s History at Bristol

Bristol Motor Speedway was not Dale Jr.’s best track by any means, but he still was very good there. He had an average finish of 13.5 there in the Cup Series with 15 top-10 finishes and eight top-5s in 34 races. In the Xfinity Series, he had an average finish of 6.9 with nine top-10s and, and seven top-5s.

His most iconic moment at the race track came in 2004. He got his only career wins at the race track that year as he swept both the Xfinity Series and Cup Series races during the weekend of the night race. The wins that weekend caused Dale Jr. to coin the phrase, “It’s Bristol Baby” in Victory Lane after the race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Recent Xfinity Series History

Ever since retiring in 2017, Dale Jr. has entered into some races here and there, but he has reserved one weekend per year to run an Xfinity Series race. Over the past five years, he has run races at Richmond in 2018 and 2021, Darlington in 2019, Homestead in 2020, and Martinsville in 2022. In those races, he has three top-5 finishes and three top-10s, but his last two have been his worst races of the bunch.

He qualified 30th in both the race at Richmond in 2021 and Martinsville in 2022. He finished 14th and 11th in both respective races. It is also worth noting that JR Motorsports has not had its best season in 2022. They have not been bad, but they have only won four races so far this season compared to 15 wins one season ago and seven wins in 2021.

Earnhardt Jr. will be in a race-winning caliber car on Saturday night regardless. He will have a chance to win, but it will not be a guarantee for him to drive right up to the front on Saturday night. He is also an open entry on a 39 car entry list in a 38 car field, so making the field is not a complete guarantee either.

What Can We Expect from Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Saturday Night?

Dale Earnhardt Jr. should have a very competitive car on Saturday night, but this is his first time driving at Bristol since his final start there in the Cup Series in August of 2017. He may struggle some, but he has continued to perform relatively well whenever he has run in an Xfinity Series race. He will be a factor in some way on Saturday night, but how well will he finish? That is a mystery.

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Joshua Lipowski

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