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.
After 18 seasons, @DaleJr will bring his Cup Series driving career to a close at the end of 2017.
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) April 25, 2017
Now we know why…
You’ve helped make this a better sport for so many of us, we wish you all the best in your retirement.👍🏻😃 https://t.co/9Ze6JZgZ70
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) April 25, 2017
Gonna be different not watching my boss but also one of my closes friends in the sport retire but so proud of him and what he represents!! https://t.co/elXxIW6TD9
— Elliott Sadler (@Elliott_Sadler) April 25, 2017