Dale Earnhardt Jr. Announces Retirement After 2017

Veteran NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced his retirement on Tuesday, effective at the end of the 2017 racing season.

From NASCAR's official release:

The 14-time Most Popular Driver has won 26 times in 603 starts over a career that began at age 24 in 1999. Among his accomplishments are two Daytona 500 crowns (2004, 2014) and two championships (1998, 1999) in what is now called the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

Earnhardt, 42, returned to competition in the No. 88 Chevrolet this year after a concussion sidelined him from NASCAR's top series for half of the 2016 season. Through his rehabilitation process, Earnhardt has become a vocal advocate for research of sports-related brain injuries. Earnhardt's best finish in eight starts this season was fifth place at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9. He currently is ranked 24th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings.

The recently-married Earnhardt Jr. has been contemplating his future for months, according to various reports, and told ESPN earlier this year that he would rather walk and raise a family, than risk further injury on the track.

Earnhardt Jr. has a press conference scheduled for 3 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

This story first appeared at 247Sports.