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Feb 26, 2017; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) before the 2017 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Dale Earnhardt Jr. To Retire

 

End of an Era

It was announced Tuesday from Hendrick Motorsports, that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be retiring. This decision comes after an 18 season Cup Series racing career. Even though he was unable to win a Cup Series Championship, he will still go down with a remarkable 26 career wins.

Why Now?

Ricky Craven, a former NASCAR driver and a current ESPN NASCAR analyst, talked with Steve Russell on our Sportscene sports talk show about Earnhardt Jr. and said that there could be many reasons for his retirement but that he is not too surprised, whether it is because of injuries and concussions or other things.

Feb 23, 2017; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) makes a pit stop during the Can-Am Duel At Daytona 2 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Success Behind the Wheel

Back in 2000 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. was just starting to get things moving on the track; he became the first rookie to ever win the NASCAR’s All-Star race, The Winston.

In his career, he has done his share of winning, including the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship and the Daytona 500 a.k.a. “The Great American Race”, in ’04 and ’14.

 

Who’s Next?

As soon as the initial grieving over Earnhardt Jr. started to cease; the next question arose. Who will be replacing him under the hood of the #88 racing car? Ricky Craven thinks the next guy needs to be a young driver with a whole lot of talent.

After Earnhardt Jr. had to sit out the latter half of last year’s racing season due to concussion like symptoms, Alex Bowman step in to fill his place. Could replacing Earnhardt Jr. once be enough to earn the permanent spot? Well, Bowman had three top-10 finishes out of his 10 races. Bowman if anything deserves a consideration for the job.

A few other notable drivers that the #88’s sponsor, Nationwide, will most likely be keeping an eye out for are William Bryon for JR Motorsports, Brad Keselowski or Ryan Blanky for Penske, and Erik Jones for the Joe Gibbs Racing-Furniture Row juggernaut.

Next Chapter?

Last year in October, Earnhardt Jr. told USA Today Sports that he will consider going into the broadcasting field after he retires. He had previously done a few broadcasting gigs. Earnhardt Jr. expressed that he will first have to go back and watch himself and get the opinions of others before he makes any decisions. He said, “I don’t want to be there unless I’m worthy of the opportunity.”

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