After 18 seasons and more than 600 races, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will bring his NASCAR Cup Series driving career to a close at the end of the 2017 season.
Earlier today, the famed son of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr. shared the news with members of his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team.
The two-time Daytona 500 champion will join team owner Rick Hendrick, for whom he has driven since 2008, as well as members of motorsports media, for a press conference to discuss this decision at 3 p.m. ET.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., photo courtesy of NASCAR via Getty Images
Earnhardt, who will turn 43 in October, made his first career Cup Series start on May 30, 1999, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Since then, NASCAR’s most popular driver for 14-years running captured 26 Cup Series race wins, 149 top-five finishes and more than 250 top-10 finishes during his time competing for DEI (Dale Earnhardt, Inc.) Racing and Hendrick Motorsports. Despite never winning a Cup Series championship, Earnhardt was fifth in the points standings in 2006 and seventh in 2011.
Midway through the 2016 Cup Series season Earnhardt, Jr. was forced to the sidelines due to a concussion suffered during a crash at Michigan International Speedway. Although Hendrick Motorsports anticipated his return prior to the end of the season, Earnhardt, Jr. instead focused on his health as well as his impending marriage to the fiancée Amy Reimann.
Earnhardt, Jr. married Reimann during a New Year's Eve ceremony to close out 2016. Earnhardt slipped back behind the wheel of his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the 2017 season, making it his 18th and final full-time season in the Cup Series.