Could this be the most popular 500th career start in NASCAR history?
Well, it does involve Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Only 33 drivers have started 500 races in their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series careers, but this Saturday in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway Earnhardt will add his name to that list.
Earnhardt made his debut in the series in May 1999 at Charlotte.The Kannapolis native started eighth and finished 16th.
Now, 499 starts later, Earnhardt has 19 wins, 111 top fives, 199 top 10s and 13 poles. If Earnhardt, who celebrated his 39th birthday on Thursday, wins this weekend, he would become the third driver to win in their 500th start (Richard Petty in 1970; Matt Kenseth three weeks ago at New Hampshire).
After a shaky start to the Chase where he finished 35th at Chicagoland, Earnhardt’s come on strong lately with finishes of sixth, second and eighth in the last three races.