RICHMOND, VA – Dale Earnhardt Jr. was making his first NASCAR start since last November when he walked away from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for good. But, when he made his retirement announcement in 2017, he said that he would make select starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series still.
He had commitments to honor.
Friday night’s GoBowling 250 was one of them.
Earnhardt, is a four time winner in XFINITY Series competition at the Richmond Raceway, so it made sense for him to make his comeback on the .75-mile short track. It’s not a high speed or a very physical track to make a comeback for his first race in nearly 10 months.
That’s why he shined.
Earnhardt, was fourth fastest in practice on Friday morning and backed that up with qualifying his No. 88 Chevrolet on the front row in second. He had a great battle with Justin Allgaier and Christopher Bell for the lead early on and first took over the top spot on Lap 124.
He’d dominate the night in leading a race-high 96 of 250 laps. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as he’d finish fourth in Friday night’s opening race of the XFINITY Series playoffs. He even won the second stage for what he said was his first stage win of his career.
He showed that he still had it and was extremely happy with a top five.