Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kasey Kahne to run two XFINITY races apiece

Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Kasey Kahne will each step down to the XFINITY Series (NXS) for two races apiece in 2017.

Each driver will compete in the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, dubbed the “All-Star Car”. Kahne will drive in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 25) and at Talladega Superspeedway (May 6), while Earnhardt will return to his team to compete at Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 18) and Richmond International Raceway (Sept. 8).

Kahne will run with sponsor support from Hellmann’s at Daytona and Armour at Talladega. The sponsors for Earnhardt’s two events are unannounced at this time.

Both drivers will return to the scenes of their most recent Xfinity Series wins. Earnhardt, a two-time NXS champion, claimed his most recent NASCAR win and first for his own team last April at Richmond. Kahne earned his 24th-career NXS victory and first for JRM at Daytona in 2014.

JRM Director of Engineering Scott Radel will serve as the No. 88 team’s crew chief for each of the four starts.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to be atop the pit box for these four races, with Dale and Kasey behind the wheel,” Radel said in a release. “JRM has had tremendous success over the past three seasons, and the ability to field a fifth entry is one that will help continue building on that momentum in 2017.”

With the announcement Earnhardt and Kahne join a strong fleet of competitors for JRM this season. The company will field an organization-high four full-time entries in 2017, including veterans Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett, as well as Hendrick prospect and Xfinity Series newcomer William Byron.

JRM was last seen competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with both Sadler and Allgaier. However, the two drivers fell short, finishing second and third, respectively, in the series standings behind champion Daniel Suarez.

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