Dale Earnhardt Jr. to end NASCAR Cup Series career

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CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is retiring at the end of the season, his team, Hendrick Motorsports, announced in a statement Tuesday.

Earnhardt, 42, shared the news with members of his No. 88 team Tuesday morning. A news conference with Earnhardt and owner Rick Hendrick is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Earnhardt made his Cup Series debut on May 30, 1999 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He raced more than 600 times and has won 26 Cup Series races, which includes two Daytona 500 wins, in his career. He has qualified for the NASCAR playoffs eight times, and has been voted by fans as NASCAR's most popular driver for 14 consecutive years, a record.

This is Earnhardt's 18th season. He has driven for Hendrick Motorsports since 2008. Earnhardt was sidelined much of last season from the effects of a concussion.

NASCAR returns to Richmond this coming weekend and again September 9.

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