Preparing to get back behind the wheel, this NASCAR star shocked fans during a recent press conference when the topic of retirement was brought up.
NASCAR's Media Tour was out in full force this week and featured every driver imaginable, but one of the most anticipated arrivals was from none other than Dale Earnhardt Jr. After missing more than half of last season due to an injury and then getting married on New Year's Eve, folks obviously had many questions.
As NBC Sports reports, Dale Jr. kicked off his press conference with a bang, saying, "I'm excited about the season and can't wait for it to get started," but in addition, he spoke a lot about his inevitable retirement.
Last year, Dale Jr. was yanked from the roster following two crashes that resulted in a severe concussion which left him unable to walk in a straight line. After that, and the announcement that he would not return to the track for the 2nd half of the season, many wondered if he was going to retire.
“I’m just hoping to enjoy what’s left of my career and hopefully I get to make the decisions on that myself as far as how much further I race,” Earnhardt said during the conference, adding that he and his new wife, Amy, are starting a family.
It was right about this point that he really started to jump into retirement talks - at length.
“I missed the camaraderie,” he said. “That’s probably what I’ll miss the most when I’m not racing any more, just the friendships inside the track. I’ve got an awesome road crew, we’re all buddies, we talk every day. It’s a very close-knit sort of family and I’m going to miss all that."
Dale Jr. didn't explain when exactly he's planning on retiring, but taking into account everything that's happened and his expectations of starting a family - as well as the pattern that seems to have evolved with recent retirements...it may be sooner than later.
“I don’t know when I’m going to stop racing, but I want to make that choice and not have it made for me."
Watch the clip below where several sports analysts discuss who they think will retire next.
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