Yesterday, we were hit with the massive news that Tiger Woods would be playing in the Masters this week, his first individual start since his horrific car wreck last February.
However, that’s not the only sports superstar that’s making a comeback this week…
The 26-time NASCAR Cup Series winner, broadcaster, and JR Motorsports team owner, and son of the great Dale Earnhardt Sr., Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced that he’ll be making his lone Xfinity Series start of the season this Friday at Martinsville Speedway, according to NASCAR.com.
The Hall of Famer tweeted out:
“I sat in my Xfinity Hellmanns Chevy today to make sure everything fits.
I made some engine sounds. I turned the wheel, wrestling the car through a fictitious corner. I tilted my head against the imaginary g forces. I mashed the pedals and shifted the gears. Felt pretty good tbh.”
FIRE ME UP.
Earnhardt retired from full-time Cup Series racing after 2017, however, each year he’s managed to make at least one Xfinity Series start his JR Motorsports team.
He finished 14th at Richmond last year, 5th at Homestead-Miami in 2020, 5th at Darlington in 2019 and 4th at Richmond the year after he retired… not bad, eh?
Friday will be his first Xfinity Series start at the Ridgeway, Virginia, short track.
Earnhardt will drive the #88 Hellman’s Chevrolet on Friday night, with a special steering wheel.
The orange and camouflaged steering wheel will be auctioned off after the race to raise funds to battle food insecurity through The Dale Jr. Foundation’s partner charities.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Recalls The First Time He Flipped His Car At Daytona
I can’t imagine what it would be like to drive around a NASCAR track at 200 mph with those insanely steep banks.
Hell, if I even get anywhere close to 100 going down the interstate (and who hasn’t let loose a time or two) I feel like I need to slow it down a shit ton, before I lose control.
Needless to say, it takes some guts to get behind the wheel of these machines.
When you watch a NASCAR race and you see an awful wreck, with one or two cars flipping, you can’t help but think about what’s going through the driver’s minds as it goes on.
Are they thinking “this is the end?” Are they cool, calm, and collected?
I can’t imagine, nor do I ever want to experience it.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. made an appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast a few years back, and talked about his first experiences as a full-time NASCAR driver…
And that includes his first time flipping a car.
“When I flipped for the first time… I thought to myself, I wasn’t scared or I never was scared of flipping… my thought was I just did something a lot of people are never going to experience.
I did something that only a few people know what that’s like. And I feel safe, I’ve always felt incredibly safe inside the car, you know, especially in the last 20 years the safety stuff has really been focused on and improved… better and better and better.
I look at the interior of cars today versus 20 years ago, and can’t believe some of the stuff we used to climb into.”
Rogan had to pause Jr., in shock that he was calm throughout his first time flipping, and he responded:
“Well I’ve seen cars flip, right? I’ve seen it for years… so I know it’s possible.
In 1998 I was racing in Daytona, and got turned around, and the car, so I’m flipping for the first time in my life. This car is like over 3,000 pounds, but it flies up in the air like it’s paper, it’s crazy… it’s so weightless.
What it felt like to me… so the car rolled on its side and came down kinda on its side. It felt like somebody rolled a prop wall of grass up against the car… I felt like I was flipping right side up because the force pushes you down in the seat. You feel gravity all the time.
You feel the weight of yourself in the seat and it never changes, you never come up out of the seat… it’s just the weirdest feeling. You feel completely safe.”
Dwight Yoakam Performs At Dale Jr.’s NASCAR Hall Of Fame Party
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was officially inducted into the Nascar Hall of Fame over the weekend.
And of course, it sounds like there was a hell of an after party, which was held at the Charlotte concert venue The Fillmore… with plenty of High Rock vodka and Budweiser to go around, I’m sure.
In one of the coolest moments of the night, other than Dale Jr. taking his place in the HOF alongside his father, Amy Earnhardt pulled off an epic surprise: Dwight Yoakam showed up to put on a show for everybody:
“What a night! Amy Earnhardt surprised Dale with a very special guest.. scroll to find out!”
Dwight has been a longtime favorite of Dale Jr., so I’m sure this was just the icing on the cake for what was one of the best night’s of his life.
Amy also posted a few photos and videos from the night, saying this was the best surprise she’s ever pulled off for her husband:
“Surprising Dale Jr. with anything is so fun for me, BUT this one was the best. Thank you Dwight Yoakam from the bottom of my heart for coming and playing for us!”
And that video of the two of them dancing together to “Suspicious Minds” in the second slide… just melt my heart.
She’s a keeper, Dale:
Back in 2015 at the NASCAR Auto Club 400, Dale and Dwight sang an impromptu duet of “Fast As You”: