Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement announcement today touched a number of the NASCAR on NBC team members, as they all either raced or worked with him on or off the racetrack.
For further insight and analysis about Earnhardt Jr.’s announcement, tune in to NASCAR America tonight at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Here’s what several members of the NASCAR on NBC team said about Junior calling it a career at season’s end:
* Steve Letarte, Earnhardt’s former crew chief and current NASCAR on NBC analyst: “I don’t think Dale Jr. can be measured as just a race car driver, because he is so much more than that. Dale is all encompassing. He carried the popularity of a sport on his shoulders. Anyone who tries to separate what he does behind the wheel to what he does in the sport, doesn’t know Dale Jr.”
* Dale Jarrett, NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and current NASCAR on NBC analyst: “This is a big loss for the sport. Dale Jr. has had what I believe will be a Hall of Fame career. I admire the way he has always handled everything, and at times carried the sport on his back.”
* Jeff Burton, former NASCAR Cup driver and current NASCAR on NBC analyst – “Dale has been a positive influence on this sport for years. His passion for NASCAR is clear, and I am sure he will continue to be a force within the sport for years to come. The retirement decision is a tough one, but I know Dale has thought it through. I’m happy he can make the choice when he feels it is the right time.”
* Kyle Petty, former NASCAR Cup driver and current NASCAR on NBC analyst: “With Chase Elliott, Daniel Suárez and Erik Jones, we are witnessing a changing of the guard. It is cyclical in sports. Bill France Sr. started this sport, and it survived when he was gone. NASCAR survived when we lost Dale Earnhardt Sr., and it survived when “The King” left. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has meant and will continue to mean so much to this sport and so many people. He will be missed, but this sport is bigger than any one person.”