Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire from NASCAR following 2017 season - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire from NASCAR following 2017 season

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(NBC) -- After 18 seasons and more than 600 races, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will retire from NASCAR at end of the 2017 season, Hendrick Motorsports confirmed Tuesday.

Earnhardt announced his decision earlier Tuesday to members of his racing team. He has been driving for Hendrick Motorsports with team No. 88 since 2008.

The son of racing royalty once felt crushed by expectations, yet he persevered and established his own legacy in the sport. Along with being NASCAR's most popular driver — a record 14 consecutive years — Junior has 26 victories, 252 top-10 finishes and two Daytona 500 trophies under his wheels.

Earnhardt made his first career Cup Series start on May 30, 1999, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Now in the midst of his 18th season at the elite Cup level, Earnhardt made his 600th career series start on March 26 at Fontana, California. He will compete in his final NASCAR Cup Series race on Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In a recent interview with NBC DFW's Newy Scruggs, Earnhardt said he's proud of his career performance and exceededing his own expectations. Asked about his legacy, Earnhardt said he hopes people remember him as a "good person" who was a "good ambassador for the sport."

"On the performance side I'm really satisfied. I just hope people thought I did it the right way and made good choices and never did anybody wrong," he said, adding that if there was a standard "to how you interact with fans, how you represent the sport, how you try to carry yourself, I hope I was a part in setting that standard."

Hendrick says Earnhardt will hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon along with Hendricks Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick to discuss his decision

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