Dale Earnhardt Jr. is of the opinion that the consistent racing the regular drivers do make them better equipped to win races than him.
Earnhardt is set to return to Xfinity racing in the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at Richmond Raceway. Since retiring from full-time Cup racing in September, he has always returned to Xfinity to race once per season.
This season will be the fourth consecutive time he has done so. But since he only races once a year, he wants people to lower their expectations when he races on Saturday.
“They are in tune and plugged in,” Earnhardt said of series regular drivers. “They’re in the deep throes of the season. Their minds are in a groove. Their bodies are ready for what they’re gonna do this weekend.
“And I’m just gonna hop in there raw and unprepared, no matter how much I’ve studied, and try to compete with them. I think that’s gonna be a tall order.”
Bowman and Byron looking to put Darlington frustration behind for the coming race
Nonetheless, Earnhardt Jr. hasn’t done badly at all in his previous starts. In all his once-a-year races in the Xfinity Series, he has managed to finish in the top-five position.
He might have quit from full-time racing, but Earnhardt did admit that he misses full-time driving. Well, for now, the once-a-year event is keeping his desire to race at least for now.
“The last couple times I’ve ran these races, I’m excited and I get in the car and I’m like, ‘Man, this is so good,’” he said. “All the emotions and the senses and everything coming back to you. It just feels right. You feel like you know what you’re doing, and you and the car are in tune.
“Then about halfway through the race, you kind get to the point where you’re, ‘Alright, I’m good, we can stop (Laughs).’ It’s like halfway through the roller coaster ride and you’re, ‘Alright, that was fun, I’m good, I can get off now.’
“Hopefully, it just goes well. I’m looking forward to it. We’re probably gonna do this again next year and just keep on doing these one-offs as we go. I don’t know if I wanna do more than that.”
Denny Hamlin worried after Next Gen test at Daytona – “It is a big, big concern”