Did you hear the news? Dale Earnhardt Jr. is saying this season will be his last. His announcement has rocked NASCAR Nation with reactions of shock and yet support. As this is being posted, a press conference will take place for NASCAR’s most popular driver, which will no doubt give the racing public a further glimpse into the announcement and the reasons why.
Who saw that coming? There was a feeling that the day would come sooner rather than later, but not quite this soon.
You know what’s good about this? Dale Earnhardt Jr. is walking away on his own terms, barring the unforeseen. We all have to hang it up sometime. There’s really nothing more sad than an athlete who hangs on years after he’s stopped performing at his best.
While this announcement may seem mildly surprising, it’s not quite as jarring as Carl Edwards’ retirement. From the glimpse we’ve been given into Jr.’s world, there’s a sense of maturing, a sense that a man whose life has been saturated with the racing scene is developing a greater interest in other pursuits.
How cool would it be if we could all step away from our profession shortly after getting married? Dale Earnhardt Jr. has all the money he needs, and dare we suggest he’s accomplished all he’s going to in what has been a pretty decent career? Make no mistake, a Cup career with 26 wins and two Daytona 500 victories and a Busch Series career complete with 24 wins and two championships is a damn good career. Is there a MENCS title in the man? There may be, but how long do you keep pursuing it?
Everyone knows when its time, and for Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 42-year old from Kannapolis, North Carolina, that time is at the end of this season.