Dale Earnhardt Jr. Sep 15, 2023; Bristol, Tennessee, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) during driver introductions at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR is taking a closer look at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s fire suit that got charred after a fire in his car during the Xfinity Series race Friday at Bristol.

Earnhardt Jr., making a one-off appearance in the event, ran up front until a fire in the driver’s compartment ended his night. He finished 30th.

Afterward, he showed off the bottom of his suit, which was noticeably charred, with a hole.

Tuesday, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the sanctioning body wants to take a closer look at the driver’s suit.

“Our safety folks have asked Dale to provide us with his fire suit,” Sawyer said. “We’ll take a deeper dive into that just to make sure everything worked as it should have and if there’s any learnings from the fiber, the SFI certification, any of that type stuff as we move forward.”

The SFI Foundation develops and administers standards, certifications, and testing used in motorsports. The fire inside Earnhardt Jr.’s car didn’t appear that serious, certainly compared to other NASCAR fires in recent years. NASCAR’s test should shed light on why the suit burned as it did.


“Fortunately he got out of the car and to my knowledge just had some burns on the fire suit and I don’t believe it got to his actual skin,” Sawyer said.

The fire aside, Sawyer said it was great to see Earnhardt Jr., who retired from full-time competition in 2017, run so well.

“Obviously Dale Jr., a huge part of our sport … to get in a national series race, and to compete at a high level, you start checking the boxes on that, and that was a phenomenal performance,” Sawyer said. “To get in the car and do what he did, to compete at a high level and lead laps, is pretty remarkable.”


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.