Dale Earnhardt Jr. took part in a testing session at Daytona earlier this month but has no intention of returning to full-time racing.
Earnhardt announced his retirement from full time racing in the Cup Series at the end of 2017. Since then, he’s only been taking part in testing sessions and makes annual one-off appearances at the Xfinity series.
Earlier this year, Earnhardt tried out the Next Gen NASCAR cars at Dayton. He drove for Hendrick Motorsports to help the team prepare for the upcoming season and also to understand the cars since he’ll be a commentator for the Cup Series.
However, speeding around the Daytona circuit did not make him want to return to full-time racing. In a recent interview, the 47-year old revealed why he plans to remain ‘semi-retired’.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) January 12, 2022
“It’s a long story, but I’m old, 47 years old. And take a guy like William Byron. He’s young, he’s a risk taker, and I’m done taking risks,” Earnhardt said.
“I’ve got two little girls that I love being around, and I put my wife through a lot to race , half of my career that she was with me. She put everything in her role on pause for eight or 10 years while we did all that.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. does not mind making occasional appearances in the Xfinity series
In April, Earnhardt will drive for his own team JR Motorsport at the Martinsville Speedway in the Xfinity Series. He admitted that he does not mind competing in that series since it’s not as physically demanding as the Cup Series.
He compared taking part in NASCAR at this age to a ‘retired footballer coming back to play in the NFL’.
“I just don’t know that, at 47 years old, I would be willing to take the necessary risks out on the race track that a young guy like William Byron is willing to do.” he added.
“I think once you get to a certain age, if you’re not willing to go out there and put it all on the line, I don’t think you need to be competing. So I don’t know if I really have that instinct anymore. Plus, you’ve just got other things you want to do.”
“The Cup Series is elite. You don’t just show up and think you’re just gonna out there and compete. It’d be like an old retired football player just showing up for an NFL game and thinking he’s gonna go out there and compete with those guys. He’ll get destroyed.”