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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr. See More
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is back for his second Xfinity Series race of the season after a strong run at Bristol. Dane Shinault gives us his strategy along with his optimal lineup for Saturday's race at Homestead.
Justin Allgaier heads to arguably his best track on the schedule hoping to lock himself in to the Round of 8. Dane Shinault breaks down the Xfinity Series race at Bristol and provides his top DFS values.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
The devastating concussion and balance/vision impairment issues that Earnhardt suffered due to multiple crashes last season took the NASCAR icon out of the driver's seat at mid-season in 2016. He only completed 18 of the 36 events before being sidelined. It was a season lost for the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet. However, the good news is that Earnhardt is much better and has received medical clearance to race again as of early December. Before the injury the veteran driver had been performing at his highest level in years with great campaigns in 2014 and 2015. While all would appear to be all right physically with Earnhardt, we'd be a bit leery about building a fantasy race team around him, with Earnhardt being the anchor driver. As it goes with drivers and concussion histories, all it takes is another major wreck to put your driver on the sidelines for multiple races.
The loss of crew chief Steve Letarte at the end of the 2014 season was seen as a major blow to this driver and team. However, Earnhardt would quickly bond and build chemistry with Greg Ives last year en route to a very strong season. Earnhardt grabbed three wins and 22 top-10 finishes to dispel any thoughts of a downturn in the No. 88 team. His 11.3 average finish in 2015 was actually better than the 12.2 he posted in his strong 2014 campaign. Now where does this driver and team go? While a championship doesn't seem likely, the Chase format certainly makes it more of a possibility for a driver and team like this. Another multi-win, 20+ top 10 season should be around the corner for the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet.
Aside from the late-season concussion and brief hiatus from competition, last year was a very successful campaign for the NASCAR icon. Earnhardt saw his championship hopes disappear due to his head injury, but he still managed 20 Top-10 finishes and a respectable 12th-place finish in the final championship standings. He also got the winless monkey off his back in 2012. Earnhardt’s thrilling victory at Michigan ended a 143-race winless streak in the Sprint Cup Series. We believe the No. 88 Hendrick team will build on these gains in the upcoming season. Earnhardt should scratch out another victory or two, and he should show the consistency that he did last season. Those characteristics should make him a very valuable driver in almost any fantasy racing format.
The 2005 season can only be described as disappointing for Earnhardt Jr. The failure to make the Chase for the Cup was only mildly sedated by the single victory that he collected at Chicago. 2006 should hold some improvement for Earnhardt and the #8 team, but we don't expect a complete turnaround in just one season.
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Earnhardt Jr. returns to NXS competition at Homestead for the first event at the 1.5-mile oval on Saturday. This marks the first time Earnhardt Jr. is back behind the wheel since a fifth-place finish at Darlington Raceway in 2019, JR Motorsports PR reports.