Fans Imagine a NASCAR Without Dale Jr. Driving
CHARLOTTE, NC — NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, Jr. announced Tuesday that he’s retiring at the end of the season.
He will be the third big name to leave racing in the past three years.
“You certainly never want to lose a superstar,” said NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell.
“I just wanted the opportunity to go out on my own terms,” said Earnhardt, Jr.
He pointed to past concussions and health risks.
“I missed a few races last year, and in that time, I had to face the realization that my driving career may have already ended without me so much as getting a vote at the table,” said Earnhardt, Jr. “During my rehab, I was given something else that I wasn’t accustomed to, and that was time. Time to understand what’s important to me. Time to realize the incredible support system I have in my wife my team and my doctors.”
He’s won most popular driver 14 times.
He’s won two Daytona 500 crowns, had a total of 26 wins so far.
“It’s a privilege to see someone like Dale junior compete,” said Bryan Reinblatt, a NASCAR fan from Toronto, Canada.
Junior is an irreplaceable legend, leaving right after other big names like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.
“It may not be the right time for us, but its the right time for him,” said NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley.
Tuesday, Junior rattled off rising stars.
“Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott,” said Earnhardt, Jr. “They’re going to bring a lot of new color and excitement and energy to the sport. We just got to get them in front of the fans, let the fans get to know them.”
Fans support Junior’s decision, pointing to his father’s untimely death on the track.
“I was glad simply because he really doesn’t have to take a chance with his life anymore,” said Mike Hogan.
However, in the NASCAR Hall of Fame store where Hogan works, Junior’s memorabilia is the number on seller.
“You take the most popular person in any sport, and you’re going to see a big difference when you take them out,” said Hogan.
Tuesday, Junior reminded fans that he’s still behind the scene, owning Junior Motorsports.
“Dale junior is not going away. He’ll still be heavily involved in the sport,” said O’Donnell.