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Dale Earnhardt Jr. made headlines in 2016, some good and some not so good. The third generation driver was sidelined for the second half of the then NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. He suffered from concussion like symptoms, after multiple wrecks in late June and early July. Alex Bowman and Jeff Gordon would pilot the #88 Chevrolet for the remainder of the season.

After all of this, media and fans alike doubted if the two-time Daytona 500 winner would ever sit in a racecar again. Earnhardt Jr. put all of those doubts to rest when he completed an 180 lap test at Darlington, after the completion of the NSCS season. NASCAR and Junior’s doctor cleared him to compete again following the test.
The question of if Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return is over. The debate now is if he will be up to his standards of performance, especially in the sports biggest event, the Daytona 500. Earnhardt Jr. has put quite the resume together in the 500, winning the race twice and finishing in the Top 5 many times. In 2016, Hendrick Motorsports also had some of the fastest cars on restricter plate tracks, winning the pole twice, both by Chase Elliott.

If you’re wondering if you should put trust in Dale Earnhardt Jr. to run well in the 2017 Daytona 500, you should. The sports most popular driver will return to greatness in the Great American Race and is a favorite to win.