during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series I Love NY 355 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 6, 2017 in Watkins Glen, New York.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. reflects on an emotional moment as his career comes to a close

As Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s final regular season comes to a close, he has already begun imagining what it will be like to drive the No. 88 car for the final time.

Earnhardt's sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, said she will almost certainly cry, but Junior said he isn't sure when the emotions will hit him.

Dale Jr. reflected back to his last race with former crew chief, Steve Letarte before Letarte retired in 2014. Earnhardt said Letarte, who is now an analyst for NBC Sports, was calm and collected in front of everyone at first.

"I never really thought about what that would be like until Steve ran his last race with me at Homestead," Earnhardt said. "He was as cool as a cucumber all weekend, at least in front of everybody, in front of me and the guys in the hauler and everything."

Related: Dale Earnhardt Jr. admits he's trying to keep his team from falling apart

But when Letarte leaned into Earnhardt's car before giving him his final instructions on pit road before the race, the emotions finally hit.

"(Letarte) just fell out and started crying and bawling like a baby," Earnhardt said. "And I thought, man, and I started crying too, to be honest with you. It was a difficult moment."

Both men were "a complete mess" according to Letarte, and neither one of them anticipated it being so difficult.

Earnhardt isn't quite finished yet, but he knows the last time he races will be difficult.

"I imagine that is going to be part of it for me, and it's going to be hard to not have those emotions at that last race," he said.

Earnhardt has two chances to qualify for the playoffs, but he will likely miss out unless he picks up a surprising win.

(h/t NBC Sports)