Dale Earnhardt Jr. leaving NASCAR following the 2017 season

Posted at 9:21 AM, Apr 25, 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr., a longtime fan favorite on the NASCAR circuit, will retire following the 2017 season, Hendrick Motorsports announced Tuesday.

Earnhardt broke onto the racing scene in the late 90s, winning the Busch Series in his first two full seasons 1998 and 1998.

In 16 seasons in NASCAR’s top circuit, Earnhardt won two Daytona 500s and was named the sport’s most popular driver every season from 2003 to 2016.

The 42-year-old Earnhardt has continued the legacy of his father, Dale Earnhardt, a popular driver who tragically died on the track during the 2001 Daytona 500.

Though he won't participate in NASCAR's Monster Energy Cup next season, Earnhardt Jr. told the Associated Press that he won't be completely finished with racing after this season. He will reportedly participate in two Xfinity series races in 2018, and was quoted as saying, "You have not seen the last of me on the race track."