Following a massive saga after a serious injury forced him to quit the season halfway through 2016, one of the biggest names in NASCAR history has announced he’s retiring from the sport.
In the middle of last year’s NASCAR season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered two hard-hitting crashes that left him with a serious concussion, the effects of which forced doctors to pull him from the driver’s seat for the rest of the season. In the months that followed, many fans and industry professionals thought that this might be a career-ending injury for Dale Jr.
After a full recovery and rehab program with one of the best medical teams in the country, he returned to the track for 2017’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup, fueled by excitement to get back behind the wheel.
During yesterday’s rescheduled Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Dale Jr. hit the wall after problems with his No. 88’s oil and tires affected the steering. He was removed from the rest of the race and immediately visited the infield care center per NASCAR regulations. It was this moment that had many of his loyal fans fearing the worst for Dale.
Now, in an unexpected announcement from his racing team, the longtime NASCAR star has revealed that he has chosen to retire from the sport.
The statement, which was posted to Twitter by his team, revealed that he would continue the rest of 2017’s season, but after that would be exiting the track, once and for all.
After 18 seasons, @DaleJr will bring his Cup Series driving career to a close at the end of 2017.
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) April 25, 2017
Beyond Hendrick Motorsports posting the announcement to social media, Dale Jr. himself tweeted that there would be an entirely separate press conference held this afternoon (April 25th) so that he can discuss his decision in more detail.
Watch the video below of Dale Jr. and his new wife Amy Earnhardt taking the ‘Newlywed Quiz’ with NBC Sports.