Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced that he is retiring from NASCAR at the end of this season. During his press conference announcing the decision, he made it perfectly clear how much he loves to drive and will miss racing once he is retired. He says that, even though he will no longer be racing full time, he still wants to work and possibly be a part of a team in some capacity moving forward.
The 42 year old missed most of the 2016 season with a concussion and was only cleared for this season in December. That time out of the car certainly played a part in his decision, as Junior alluded to “How delicate things are,” and he was adamant that he wanted to make the retirement decision on his own terms.
Looking back over his career, he said that he thing he loves the most about racing wasn’t winning, but the friendships he made with his team. He also reflected on being in the shadow of his father early on, but said that his love of racing made it less intimidating. He said that he accomplished more than he ever dreamed and described his announcement as a bittersweet moment. He summed up his contentment with how things turned out perfectly, saying, “I’m good.”
Earnhardt named Chase Elliot and Kyle Larson in particular as reasons he is excited about the future of NASCAR without him.
Junior is currently 24th in the championship standings, 226 points behind Kyle Larson, with one top five finish and three DNF’s.