(April 25)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will retire from full-time driving following the 2017 NASCAR season, Hendrick Motorsports announced Tuesday in a press 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 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.

Earnhardt and team owner Rick Hendrick will address the media at 3 p.m. ET. Video from the news conference will be streamed live on

Earnhardt Jr. won the 1998 and 1999 NASCAR Busch Series (now the NASCAR Xfinity Series) races at Gateway Motorsports Park.