Dale Earnhardt Jr. has announced that he will retire from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series after the 2017 season. As the Hendrick Motorsports driver prepares to climb into the race car for the final time at each track — or at least likely for the last time, as he has left the door open for possible one-off races — we take a look at how he has fared over the years at each venue and what to expect in his last ride there.
Dale Jr. at Phoenix Raceway | Nov. 12, 2017
Best finish: First (November 2003, November 2004, November 2015)
Biggest highlight: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win in 2004, where he led the final 12 laps, including holding off Jeff Gordon on a green-white-checkered finish that followed a red flag, which kept Earnhardt in championship contention. It put him just 47 points out of the lead with two races left in the year (and a points system that awarded three to five points per spot). The win in 2015 likely would be second, as he won the rain-shortened race in a surprise.
Worst moment: In the March 2015 race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. blew a tire and smashed into the wall with the rear of the car. Earnhardt said he was really loose, and he blew out the right rear. He finished last.
Outlook for Sunday: Earnhardt finished 14th in the race in March. He was 15th in the opening practice Friday. He qualified 14th Friday night. Don’t be surprised if he finishes between 10th and 15th.
Dale Jr. says: “This place [is] very special to me, that we’ve won some races and had so much fun at this race track. Ever since we started winning here, I loved the opportunity to come back and compete. I’ve enjoyed the reconfiguration that the track made several years ago. The area here is awesome. We love the weather. We never really have to ever worry about any rainouts, and when it does rain out — good things happen on that rare chance.”