Tha Sports Junkies 101

Gray Ghost to Return at Martinsville with Earnhardt Jr



In his final start at Martinsville Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a familiar paint scheme. Nationwide held a fan vote to determine which scheme Jr. would race in October’s First Data 500. Jr. revealed the winning scheme via Twitter on Thursday. There were 8 different paint schemes being offered by Nationwide. The fans spoke and decided that Dale will race the Gray Ghost scheme in a few weeks.

Originally his Darlington throwback scheme for last year, the Nationwide Gray Ghost pays tribute to Buddy Baker and the 1980 Daytona 500 winning car. Due to his concussion that forced him to miss much of 2016, Jr. never actually ran this scheme. The Gray Ghost was run at Darlington last year by Jeff Gordon.

“I wanted to make sure that all the fans that voted know I really appreciate it,” said Earnhardt Jr. “I was a little envious of Gordon. It is a paint scheme I really, really like and I just never got a chance to run it. This goes out to all the fans for voting. I have only you to thank.”

The First Data 500 will be live from Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, October 29, at 3 PM EST. It will be the first race for the Playoff Round of 8.

While the retirement tour may not be as successful as Jr. or his legions of fans expected, Martinsville could be a bright spot. In 34 starts at the Virginia short track, Jr. has 1 win (2014), 13 top 5s, 18 top 10s, and 972 laps led. Many are saying Talladega is Jr’s last chance at a Cup Series victory, but do not overlook his Martinsville chances. With one of his favorite paint schemes, lightning may strike for Earnhardt Jr. at Martinsville.