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NASCAR Cup: Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire at season’s end

Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

By AMANDA VINCENT

Hendrick Motorsports announced via press release on Tuesday that Dale Earnhardt will retire from competition as a driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at the end of the 2017 race season. A press conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET Tuesday.
Earnhardt has missed multiple races on two occasions in recent years, including missing the second half of the 2016 season, as a result of concussions. He also missed two races in 2012.
After making five Cup Series starts while running a full NASCAR Busch (now-Xfinity) Series schedule in 1999, Earnhardt embarked on full-time Cup racing in 2000. He won twice in his rookie season and also became the first rookie to win the All-Star Race, but he lost to Matt Kenseth for 2000 Cup Series Rookie of the Year. Prior to his full-time jump to Cup competition, Earnhardt won two-consecutive Busch Series driver championships in 1998 and 1999. He is a car owner in that series, fielding entries for four series regulars and an additional ride driven, primarily, by Cup Series drivers under the JR Motorsports banner.
Earnhardt has 603-career starts in the Cup Series, resulting in 26 wins, 149 top-fives and 253 top-10 finishes.
Eight races into the 2017 season, Earnhardt has one top-five, a fifth-place finish earlier this month at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. That is is only top-10 in 2017, to date.
Earnhardt has been NASCAR’s official Most Popular Driver through most of his Cup Series career, as he’s been voted for the honor for the last 14 years.
The 2017 season was the last year of Earnhardt’s contract with Hendrick Motorsports. Early this season, he stated publicly that he was putting off contract negotiations a few month to gauge his performance since the return of his most recent concussion.
Earnhardt’s retirement puts him on a laundry list of big name departures from the sport the last couple of years. Four-time champion Jeff Gordon retired at the end of the 2015 season but made a return to substitute for Earnhardt in eight races in the second half of last season. Tony Stewart retired as a Cup Series driver at the end of the 2016 season. In January, Carl Edwards announced that he was stepping away from competition this season, and Greg Biffle also is absent this year after leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of 2016.
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on April 25, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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