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Dale Earnhardt Jr: I Accomplished Way More Than I Ever Dreamed

Photo: Daytona International Speedway
Photo: Daytona International Speedway

Dale Earnhardt Jr. calls his decision to retire “bittersweet.”

At his official announcement Earnhardt said all he wanted to do was make a living racing cars. “I accomplished way more than I ever dreamed, way more than I ever thought I’d accomplish,” said Earnhardt. “So I’m good. I’m so blessed and fortunate on what I was able to achieve.”

Earnhardt informed Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick on March 29 of his plans to retire. Earnhardt said that "without a shadow of a doubt," the toughest part of his decision was informing Hendrick.

Daytona International Speedway president Chip Wile calls Earnhardt an incredible ambassador to the sport. “Everybody knew at some point that he was going to retire, that’s just part of life,” said Wile. “Jeff Gordon retired a couple of years ago, Tony Stewart last year. I’m glad that he’s doing it on his own terms.”

Earnhardt has driven for Hendrick since 2008 after a nasty split with Dale Earnhardt Inc., the team founded by his late father but run by his stepmother. He was unhappy with the direction of DEI since his father's 2001 death in a last-lap accident at the Daytona 500, and a frosty relationship with his stepmother led him to bolt to NASCAR's most powerful team.

The 14-time winner of NASCAR’s most popular driver award will retire at the end of this season.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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