Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he will retire following the 2017 NASCAR season, according to Hendrick Motorsports. The team says he shared the news with them today, and he discussed his decision during a news conference Tuesday afternoon with Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick.
The popular driver made his first career Cup Series start on May 30, 1999, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Since then, he’s spent more than 600 races behind the wheel, and he’s been voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver by fans a record 14 consecutive years. He qualified for the NASCAR playoffs eight times.
Hendrick Motorsports says he will compete in his final NASCAR Cup Series race on November 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.
Hendrick Motorsports says they will announce plans for its 2018 team alignment at a later date.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles released the following statement about Earnhardt:
“Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a NASCAR legend, and everyone at IMS offers him best wishes after his retirement as a full-time driver. His legacy is secure as a champion, a winner, a great ambassador for motorsports and a class act. Dale always has given so much of himself to everyone, especially the fans. We’re looking forward to seeing him race one more time at IMS during the Brickyard 400 weekend on July 21-23. And, as a promoter, I’m usually neutral and support the field, but frankly I hope Dale wins the 2017 Brickyard 400!”
Earnhardt will make his final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at IMS at the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 23.