Dale Earnhardt Jr. Thanks His Late Father In Emotional Retirement Speech
Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced on Tuesday that he will be pumping the brakes on his professional driving career at the end of the 2017 NASCAR season.
The 42-year-old driver held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to officially announce his decision and thank the many people who had an impact on him over the course of his career. Of course, one of those influential people was his late father, the legendary NASCAR driver whose footstomps he followed down the race track.
“To my father, Dale Earnhardt, I would not have been a racecar driver if not for him believing in me,” Dale Jr. said. “It might have taken a bit of encouragement from Tony Eury St. but eventually dad came around. I appreciate my father, everything he put into my career and all the guys on the old AC Delco team that gave me a shot.”
.@DaleJr shares what his father meant to his career. pic.twitter.com/Ut1SflTedL
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) April 25, 2017
Earnhardt then went on to thank his fans, many of whom he believed supported him because they were fans of his father.
“To my fans, one thing that has made this career the incredible ride that it’s been is Junior Nation,” Earnhardt added. “The fan support that I received straight out of the gate was in large part because of my famous last name. But throughout the ups and downs it occurred to me that the fans stuck it out–and the new ones that joined us–they were there because of the person I was and not who they wanted me to be.”
Earnhardt was always chasing his father’s shadow, but said that he was “at peace with the decision” and “accomplished way more than [he] ever dreamed.”
Although Earnhardt announced his retirement, he’s still got some racing left to do.
“I’m going to be in Richmond this weekend with my foot on the floor,” Earnhardt said.
You can watch his full press conference here.