The North Carolina native who has been named the most popular NASCAR driver fourteen times in an eighteen year career, said the hardest thing to do was to tell owner Rick Hendrick that the concussion-like symptoms he suffered in 2016, when he missed 18 races, played a major role in his retirement decision. Earnhardt Jr., who will turn 43 in October and who was recently married to his wife Amy, wanted to make his own retirement decision, rather then be told he had to retire. Junior has 26 career Cup victories in just over 600 career starts without winning a Cup title.

Earnhardt Jr. now follows recently retired popular NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and Carl Edwards. Junior feels that the future of NASCAR is really in fine shape with the new drivers that are currently coming on to the NASCAR circuit. Even though Dale Jr. will not be in the 88 car next year, he will still be around for Hendrick Motor Sports.