Earnhardt said "I typically don't have a lot of fun on flat tracks, but it's a lot of fun, the win here, I remember that race, I don't know where Matt finished". After missing much of the 2016 season due to concussion-like symptoms, he acknowledged that time off played a role in his decision.
Team owner Rick Hendrick was by Earnhardt Jr.'s side during the announcement and commended his impact to the sport and to Hendrick Motorsports. He jumps to the hood of his vehicle after the race, throws his fists in the air and then hugs 2001 Daytona 500 champion and Dale Earnhardt Inc. teammate Michael Waltrip.
The vacancy on his resume is a Cup championship, a title his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., won seven times.
With Earnhardt's retirement looming, here's a look back at six of the most memorable moments from the career of one of racing's most popular drivers.
Sadler said the early announcement will give Earnhardt fans a chance to see him before the final retirement.
Maybe, most importantly, he is the son of Dale Earnhardt, who besides Petty, was the most popular driver in the sport's history.
NASCAR certainly has the notable drivers to carry the banner for a new generation, but it needs to act fast before Earnhardt exits. Then it was Tony Stewart who took his rabid fan base and left the sport.
"Being newly married and eventually going to start a family I'm sure to put the work, especially the workload that he has", said NASCAR driver Aric Almirola. He has lately become a vocal advocate for research into sports-related brain injuries, and the hit he took last June led to months of rehabilitation.
"I don't see myself really detaching from NASCAR", Earnhardt said.
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This is so great, and adds just a bit of insult to injury for the Clippers, who missed a chance to take a 3-1 lead in the series. He'll probably need to stay that good if the Clippers are to advance. "I knew that I had to step up and make a play out there".
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Kuo says that supplies of the regular iPhone 7s, which will include only minor hardware upgrades, won't suffer similar delays. He previously estimated 100 million to 110 million iPhone units shipped, but he now predicts 80 million to 90 million units.
The news was the latest blow to the stock auto series, which lost two other popular drivers in Gordon and Tony Stewart to retirement the past two years.
But will fans gravitate toward Larson, Elliott or even Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones the way they did with Earnhardt when he was coming up? Earnhardt Jr. was elected Most Popular Driver for 14 times during his career, which began in 1999.
2004: Wins an October race at Talladega but gets fined $10,000 and is docked 25 points for swearing during an NBC interview after the race. Gordon retired after the 2015 season but filled in as the No. 88 driver past year for part of the season when concussion-like symptoms prevented Earnhardt from racing.
2014: Earnhardt added a second Daytona 500 win in 2014.
After a departure from his father's race team - which continued under the leadership of his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt - Earnhardt's free-agency period in 2007 ended with his choice of Hendrick Motorsports.
The elder Earnhardt, one of NASCAR greatest legends, perished in a last-lap crash in the 2001 Daytona 500 just as Michael Waltrip and Earnhardt Jr. were about to finish 1-2 in cars owned by Earnhardt.
"I feel healthy. I'm having a really good time driving the cars and enjoying that with my team", he said.
In the last question at the news conference where he announced his retirement, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked what his late father would have said to him upon hearing his decision. He also said he wanted time to become confident about his health before considering a new contract.