CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 25: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Patriotic Chevrolet, walks on the grid during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he expects his fans to gravitate to these young drivers


Dale Earnhardt Jr. just raced for the last time as a full-time driver at Talladega Superspeedway, and he only has a handful of races left in his career.

Earnhardt appeared on NASCAR America on NBC Sports, and he was asked which drivers he thought his fans would root for once he retires. Some fans cheered loudly for Chase Elliott once he took the lead, and Earnhardt said he feels there are a handful of drivers who his fans can root for in the future.

"There's a handful of drivers right now whose followers and fan base is increasing as we speak," Earnhardt said. "You've got Chase (Elliott), Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, all these guys are sort of gaining fans as we're talking right now. And you can see as the season goes on there's a lot more name recognition with these guys. They're household names.

"They're going to continue to get more and more popular as they start to gain more success. Once Chase wins that first race and starts getting more trophies and more success, the fans start buying into what he's doing. The sky's the limi for him and these other guys. That's where the future of the sport is. We've got established names. Joey Logano, (Brad) Keselowski, they're going to be around for a while. They're champions and they have great fanbases as well. But these young guys coming in that I just mentioned are what is really going to push this sport and bring it up and take it to the next level.

Related: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he had one major concern heading into Talladega

Earnhardt said he had a "passing the baton" moment with Elliott and Blaney at Talladega, and he noticed fans cheering for them as they took the lead.

He believes the sport will be in good shape after he retires, and fans of his will latch on to the younger drivers who are the future of the sport.