Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s 14-time Most Popular Driver, will retire following the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Hendrick Motorsports announced Tuesday morning.
Earnhardt will address the media at 3 p.m. today.
Hendrick Motorsports will announce his replacement at a later date.
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This is Earnhardt’s 18th full-time year in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
He is tied for 29th on NASCAR’s all-time race winner’s list with 26 career victories, including the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500s.
In addition to his race victories, Earnhardt has 13 pole positions and eight non-points wins (five in the Daytona 500 qualifying Duel, two in The Clash and one All-Star Race victory) and has qualified for the NASCAR playoffs eight times.
Earnhardt, who will turn 43 in October, made his first career Cup Series start on May 30, 1999, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His first Cup win came as a rookie at Texas Motor Speedway in 2000, and he won the NASCAR All-Star Race that season as well.
But Earnhardt’s popularity transcended the sport.
According to Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt has appeared on more than 150 magazine covers and has been featured in high-profile publications such as Maxim, Rolling Stone, GQ, Men’s Journal, Sports Illustrated, People Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Men’s Fitness and TV Guide.
He was also a presenter at the 43rd annual Country Music Awards in 2009, and the 2002 MTV Music Awards.
Earnhardt has been a guest on “60 Minutes,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Today Show,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “Good Morning America,” “Live with Regis and Kelly,” “Chelsea,” “The Soup,” “CBS This Morning” and “Larry King Live.” He has played cameo roles in major motion pictures “Talladega Nights” and “Cars” and was the subject of an episode of MTV’s “Diary” and VH1’s “Driven.”