Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire from NASCAR at season’s end

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s career is nearing the finish line.

After 18 seasons, Hendrick Motorsports announced the icon will be retiring at the end of the season.

Earnhardt Jr., 43, has driven in over 600 races in his career. He made his debut in the NASCAR Cup Series in 1999, has 26 career Cup Series wins and reached the playoffs eight times.

Recently, Earnhardt Jr. has been plagued by concussions, causing him to miss half of last season.

On NPR’s “Out of Bounds” on April 9, Earnhardt Jr. said he’d quit the sport when it longer made him happy.

“I took a big risk, I think, to come back to race. Although I’m healthy, I’m still at danger, just like anyone else out there racing, to get concussions,”Earnhardt Jr. said. “And having gone through it at one point — during the worst, sickest part about it — I really didn’t want to have anything to do with racing. But as I got healthier, I got the itch, I guess, or the urge to come back. And I just want to race as long as I’m enjoying it. When I no longer enjoy it, I find something else to enjoy.”

Earnhardt Jr. is the son of racing legend Dale Earnhardt, who died in a crash in the final lap of the Daytona 500 in February 2001.

News of Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement has spread quickly and his fellow NASCAR drivers and friends are paying tribute.

The driver’s final NASCAR Cup Series race will be on Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Earnhardt Jr. will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. Tuesday to discuss his retirement.

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