gettyimages-1339707299.jpg
Getty Images

Since his retirement from the NASCAR Cup Series at the end of the 2017 season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scratched the itch to race by climbing behind the wheel for one race annually in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Next year, the NASCAR Hall of Famer's post-retirement tour will continue at one of his favorite tracks on the circuit.

During a new episode of the Dale Jr. Download, Earnhardt Jr. announced that he will run next April's Xfinity Series race at Martinsville Speedway for his annual one-off race. He will drive the No. 88 Hellmann's Chevrolet, which will serve as a fifth car fielded by JR Motorsports.

"I love short tracks. When it comes down to it, short track racing is what I love to do," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Races at Martinsville are always a blast, so I'm really excited about this opportunity. Unilever has been a great partner, and I'm thankful to them for allowing me to go race at Martinsville. I'm going to get in there in the thick of it and have some fun."

The oldest track in NASCAR and a classic half-mile nestled in small town Virginia, Martinsville has long been a track seemingly tailor-made for the tradition-conscious Earnhardt Jr. Martinsville was the site of one of the biggest victories of the later part of Earnhardt Jr.'s career, as he took the lead late and then held off Jeff Gordon to score his lone Martinsville victory in the fall of 2014.

Since post-concussion syndrome prompted Earnhardt Jr. to retire from racing full-time, he has raced in the Xfinity Series once a year and shown that he still has it behind the wheel. He has three Top 5 finishes with a best finish of fourth since 2018 -- and he finished 14th in his 2021 one-off at Richmond Raceway in September.

Earnhardt Jr.'s race at Martinsville will allow him to get in the mix with the four full-time cars he fields in Xfinity. Next year, JR Motorsports will continue to feature four full-time teams with drivers Sam Mayer, Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry and Noah Gragson.