Dale Earnhardt Jr. kicks off JR Nation Appreci88ion campaign

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s JR Nation Apreci88ion tour begins this weekend as he makes what is scheduled to be his final Cup start at Daytona International Speedway.

Earnhardt, the 14-time most popular driver who is retiring from full-time Cup driving after this season, will pay thanks to fans in the final 20 races of the season.

The JR Nation Apreci88ion Tour will have a heavy presence on social media with the #Apreci88ion hashtag. Earnhardt will release weekly videos recollecting memories and milestones achieved at each of the tracks. JR Nation Appreci88ion merchandise will be available at his souvenir trailers at the track and at ShopJrNation.com.

“My expectations were very low when I started racing – I just wanted to pay my bills,” Earnhardt said in a statement. “If I could pay bills and make a living by racing, that was a win.

“Now some 18 years later, I look at what became of it, and I just feel grateful. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of so many people, especially fans. So as I visit tracks for the last time in this role, that is my motivation. I’m going to drive as hard as I can for the people who made an 18-year Cup career possible.”

Watch Earnhardt’s final Cup ride at Daytona at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC.

Also, catch a replay of his 2004 Daytona 500 win from 7-9 p.m. ET Thursday on NBCSN and join the conversation on Twitter by using #NASCARThrowback.

 and on Facebook