Dale Earnhardt Jr. retiring from NASCAR at end of 2017 season

Earnhardt made his first career Cup Series start on May 30, 1999, at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt Jr. has competed for 18 seasons and raced more than 600 races.

For the first time in more than 40 years, no one named Dale Earnhardt will race on the NASCAR circuit next year. Hendrick Motorsports will announce Earnhardt's replacement for the 2018 season at a later date.

Earnhardt Jr.is the second high-profile driver to retire in the last few months. He is the two-time victor of the Daytona 500 (2004, 2014). His final race will be November 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The 42-year-old is expected to announce his retirement at a 3 p.m. press conference, according to a press release from Earnhardt's team, Hendrick Motorsports.

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Fan-favorite, Dale Jr., is retiring after 18 seasons and will bring his Cup Series career to an end this season. There are races on May 13 and October 22. He has never won a Cup series championship but is a two-time champion in what is now called the Xfinity Series.

Earnhardt underwent a strenuous rehabilitation program and was cleared to return to competition in early December.

Earnhardt is also co-owner of JR Motorsports, which fields entries in NASCAR's Xfinity Series and late model stock auto teams. He fell to 24th in the Cup points standings.

Earnhardt married his longtime girlfriend, Amy Reimann, in a New Year's Eve ceremony on December 31, 2016.

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