The End of an Era: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Finishes Full-Time NASCAR Racing

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Sunday, November 19, 2017, marked the end of an era in NASCAR racing as Dale Earnhardt Jr. hung up the towel in Homestead as a full-time driver. With 631 starts over 18 years, including 26 victories, he finished in 25th at Homestead-Miami Speedway, following a final racing season which wasn’t without its dramatic highs and lows.

Announcing his retirement in April of this year, the 43-year-old has a huge fan base in the NASCAR world, many of whom were left practically speechless following his press conference. The son of racing legend Dale Earnhardt is now turning towards other goals in his life, including his marriage to wife Amy and their anticipated first child (a baby girl) in May of 2018. Over the course of his racing career, he’s had several personal and health battles (concussions being one) but he’s also managed to grasp a lot of opportunities, including a racing team to manage, film and TV options, and commentator space in the booth for the NASCAR Cup Series.

The End of an Era: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Finishes Full-Time NASCAR Racing

Photo: Facebook/Dale Earnhardt Jr.

In a statement on his official website, he was quoted in Phoenix as saying, “Yeah, I feel like I almost need to apologize because I’ve got a pregnant wife, I’m retiring and I just feel like I’m going to break down any minute. I feel like every answer that I have has some sort of sad undertones and very emotional temperament, but I… yeah, it’s starting to really sink in…I hadn’t felt much. I went through Talladega…that was an emotional weekend regardless of how many races were left in the year.  But, now, I think after Texas, I don’t know, I went hunting for a couple of days, so I didn’t really have to think about it too much, but got here and I’m like, ‘man, it’s just a week away.’ I am not sure that I’m like just ready to be going through all of that emotion that I will have in Homestead, but it’s coming.” And, that it did. Mirrored by his throngs of fans, his emotions ran high at this bittersweet weekend. Martin Truex Jr., who won his first NASCAR Cup title at Sunday’s race, welcomed Earnhardt and his wife, Amy to the championship celebration stage to share the glory, having been given his big break almost 13 years ago by the very same. It was a fitting end to the full-time NASCAR driving career of Earnhardt Jr.

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