At the end of the 2017 season; after a 20 year career, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will retire from professional racing. “Junior,” as he is affectionately known, drives the number 88 Chevrolet SS in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for the Hendricks Motorsports team and the number 88 Chevrolet Camaro for his own team, JR Motorsports, in select NASCAR Xfinity Series races.
Dale Jr. has done well in representing the Chevrolet brand through his many successes on the track and his glowing reputation within the sport and throughout popular culture. His hard-nosed driving techniques earned him a Busch Series Championship in both 1998 and 1999 and propelled him to victories in the illustrious Daytona 500 in 2004 and then 10 years later in 2014, earning him the nickname the “Pied Piper” of Daytona. From 2003-2016 he was a Can-Am Duel winner 5 times.
Not to be outdone by his driving prowess, Junior’s personality led him to be revered by his peers, being named the Busch Series “Most Popular Driver” early in his career in 1999, as well as NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series “Most Popular Driver” for an astounding 14 consecutive years (2003-2016)!
His NASCAR influence has even given rise to a career in television and movies. His media production company, Hammerhead Entertainment, created and produces the TV show “Back in the Day” on the SPEED Network. And, he parlayed his public esteem into Hollywood fame by appearing as himself in the 2006 film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, famously asking the lead character and fellow racer Rick Bobby (Will Ferrell) for his autograph. Earnhardt also voiced the aptly-named character “Junior” in the 2006 animated feature film Cars.
From a career in racing to whatever he chooses to do in the future, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will always be known as a man who blazes his own path. After a concussion sidelined him for most of the 2016 season, Dale Jr. has decided to hang up his racing helmet but wants the world to know: “I just want to thank everyone for making me feel pretty incredible” but “…I just wanted the opportunity to go out on my own terms.” You have Junior, and thank you for bringing honor to the Chevrolet name.