Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he was eager to jump in for NASCAR Cup Series testing this week at Daytona International Speedway, so much that he pinged a handful of teams — Richard Childress Racing and Spire Motorsports among others — hoping for seat time. He said a half-dozen texts went to Chad Knaus, Hendrick Motorsports‘ VP of Competition, who finally bit, clearing the way for him to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet during the preseason sessions.

Earnhardt reflected Wednesday on his time back behind the wheel of the Cup Series‘ new Next Gen car that will debut this season, gaining valuable knowledge that should help him become a more informed broadcaster for NBC Sports‘ NASCAR coverage. The 47-year-old retired from full-time Cup Series competition after the 2017 season and has kept his recreational racing to one Xfinity Series event each year since.

Earnhardt scuttled any speculation that this week‘s return to the Cup Series garage might lead to more, say perhaps a Daytona 500 one-off.


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