Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in a league of his own when it comes to being the most popular driver in NASCAR. While his career may have been relatively inconsistent, it didn’t stop him from driving for a long time. In fact, he drove for nearly 18 years in the Cup Series.
During his career, he was voted the most popular driver a total of 14 times. In 2016, the year he retired, he made over $23 million even though he only raced about half of the season. That was more than any other driver at the time.
Initially, he stated that he was retiring due to his injuries. In particular, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that his concussions that year were the reason he was retiring.
In an interview with NPR, he said that he wanted to go out under his own power. The NASCAR driver also said that he was worried that a future injury might permanently impact his health. So, he decided to leave the sport while he was still, mentally, in good shape.
Now, however, there is another big reason coming out about why he retired at the age of 42. As it turns out, his wife played a massive role in his decision to end his career.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Decided to Retire From Nascar Because of His Wife
During an interview on The Artist and The Athlete with Lindsay Czarniak, Dale Jr. opened up about his retirement decision. While there was a lot that went into the decision to retire, his wife was a major reason.
The NASCAR driver began talking about the decision. During the podcast, he talked about how he was financially stable enough to retire. He also noted that he wanted to be with his children more than he had been previously. “All these things were sort of falling into place that made it a much easier decision.”
More importantly, he says, “If I had been single, I’d still be racing. No question. That’s not to put it on Amy and say she’s the reason. She’ll say, ‘don’t put that on me.'”
The legendary NASCAR driver continued his explanation. He said that he was selfish about his career when he was single. But when he got married, things changed for him. Dale Earnhardt Jr., all of the sudden, wasn’t the focus of his life. He cared about other things and people. He remembered how racing wasn’t as important to him any longer.
Additionally, the superstar driver said, “I had accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish, or I could accomplish. And plus, you know, I had all the injuries and that stuff, but even with those, I think I’d still be racing if I’d never gotten married.”
When it came down to it, Dale Earnhardt Jr. decided to choose his family over NASCAR. Some likely people were bummed that he retired, but it was probably the best decision for him.