It’s the end of an era everyone. After being the most popular driver in NASCAR for 14 of his seasons, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will retire after the 2017 season.
The 42-year-old Earnhardt returned to full time driving this season after a series of crashes and bad fortune left him concussed and unable to drive to his full potential. Because of this, Earnhardt has become a huge voice for sports related head injuries. In eight starts this year, Dale Jr.’s best finish was fifth in Texas on April 9th.
Here’s the announcement from NASCAR.com:
Earnhardt and team owner Rick Hendrick will address the media at 3 p.m. ET. Video from the news conference will be streamed live on NASCAR.com.
Hendrick Motorsports said in a news release that Earnhardt and his team owner first met to discuss the driver’s decision on March 29. The team also indicated that it would announce its 2018 plans for the No. 88 team at a later date.
Earnhardt began his premier-series career on May 30, 1999 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a 16th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600. That step in his NASCAR career came after years of driving Late Models at the weekly and touring level before making his mark in the XFINITY tour.
Earnhardt followed the steps of his famous father, initially driving cars owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer and icon Dale Earnhardt. His earliest entries in the premier series carried No. 8, the number favored by his grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt.
If he doesn’t win a race or the title this year, he’d retire with 26 wins in his 603 starts. Those wins added up to two Daytona 500 wins and two overall championships in 1998 and 1999. We’ll have the live stream right here so check back as the announcement is made.
Good Luck Dale!