|Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Nov. 16, at 10:20 a.m. local time in the Homestead-Miami Speedway media center.
APPRECI88ION TOUR SUCCESS: In June, Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced a five-month campaign called the JR Nation Appreci88ion Tour, which started at the July Daytona event and has carried through to the end of the 2017 season, his last as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver. The Appreci88ion campaign gave Earnhardt’s fans, his partners and the NASCAR industry a way to celebrate his historic career while offering the driver an opportunity to make gestures of gratitude to everyone who made the ride possible. Throughout, the fans have joined the celebration by using the #Appreci88ion hashtag on social media. Earnhardt himself used it to share weekly videos recounting memories and milestones from each of the tracks on the NASCAR circuit. The gestures of appreciation from the entire industry were overwhelming, and many will create a lasting impact on local communities across the country, celebrating the legacy Earnhardt has created.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: The 2017 season marked Earnhardt’s 18th full-time year in the Cup Series. The native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, has earned 26 career victories, including the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500s. His 26 victories tie him for 29th on NASCAR’s all-time race winners list. He also has 15 pole positions and eight non-points wins (five in the Daytona 500 qualifying Duel, two in the Clash and one All-Star Race victory). Overall, Earnhardt has qualified for the NASCAR playoffs eight times (2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015). He is the only third-generation NASCAR champion, achieved when he won the 1998 and 1999 NASCAR XFINITY Series titles. He follows his legendary father Dale Earnhardt Sr., a seven-time Cup champion and winner of 76 races, and his grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt, the 1956 NASCAR Sportsman champion. The three Earnhardts combine for 10 NASCAR championships.
AT HOMESTEAD: Earnhardt, who has yet to earn his first win at Homestead, has been on the upswing in his most recent visits to the 1.5-mile oval. While Earnhardt has a total of one top-five and two top-10 finishes in his 16 starts at the facility, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has finished inside of the top 15 in four of his last five trips to Homestead-Miami Speedway, including a career-best third-place finish in the 2013 event. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks near the top of the fastest laps run category. The driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS is fourth among active drivers at Homestead since 2005 with 150 fastest laps run, some of which have been during the 121 laps he’s led in his 16 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
ROOKIE SCHEME: Earnhardt’s No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, originally unveiled live on QVC on Aug. 2 from Axalta’s Customer Experience Center, will be red with black and white stripes, paying homage to the driver’s very first paint scheme, which debuted in 1999 when he competed in his first career Cup Series race. Click here to see how the scheme came to life.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER: On Tuesday, Nov. 28, NASCAR and Nationwide will bring together fans, family, friends, key influencers in his racing life and a few surprise guests to join Earnhardt to tell stories at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas at 9 p.m. PST. Hosted by Earnhardt himself, this once-in-a-lifetime fan experience will tell the tales of NASCAR’s reigning most popular driver. The best part is all the proceeds from the event will benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital including the great work being done in the Dale and Amy Earnhardt Activity Room. For tickets and more information, click here.
IT’S NOT GOODBYE, IT’S SEE YOU LATER: While Earnhardt is retiring from full-time Cup racing, he will still be a very visible presence in the sport. He will drive in two NASCAR XFINITY Series races for his JR Motorsports team in 2018, be active in his role as an owner of that team, and, in the second half of the season, he will join the NBC Sports group in the Cup broadcast booth. In short, the man who has been voted by fans as NASCAR’s most popular driver for 14 consecutive years isn’t really going anywhere.