Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire from NASCAR after 2017 season

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will bring his NASCAR Cup Series driving career to a close at the conclusion of 2017. His Hendrick Motorsports team said the driver made the announcement to the team Tuesday.

Earnhardt, who will turn 43 in October, made his first career Cup Series start on May 30, 1999, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Since then, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has captured 26 points-paying Cup race wins and been voted by fans as NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver a record 14 consecutive years. He has qualified for the NASCAR playoffs eight times.

Now in the midst of his 18th full-time season at the elite Cup level, Earnhardt made his 600th career series start on March 26 at Fontana, California. He will compete in his final NASCAR Cup Series race on Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Earnhardt has been plagued by injuries during his career, and missed the second half of the 2017 season recovering from a concussion; his third.

The team and Earnhardt will hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon.