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Dale Earnhardt Jr. elected to NASCAR Hall of Fame as he ponders retirement

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Dale Earnhardt Jr., the most popular NASCAR driver of his generation, was elected to the sport’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

“Just talking about it, it’s really emotional because I feed off affirmation,” Earnhardt said. “It’s such a great feeling to know people think I made an impact. I know what my numbers are, and I feel like I was chosen because of that, but also for the impact I made off the track, being an ambassador for the sport.”

His career may be over, as the 45-year-old said over the weekend he may never race again following a fifth-place finish at the Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami on Sunday.

“I think right now, it’s just going to stay the same,” Earnhardt said after his first race since August. “I don’t want to do any more, that’s for sure. I can say that with confidence. I don’t know how many more of these I’ll do. This might be the last one. And this ain’t no tease or anything like that. I’m not trying to be annoying about that. It’s a lot of a commitment, and I just, I don’t know.’’

Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR Hall of Fame last race
Dale Earnhardt Jr.Getty Images

Earnhardt retired from full-time racing after the 2017 season after suffering a series of concussions throughout his career. His race on Sunday is so far the only event he was scheduled for this year.

With the election into the Hall of Fame based in Charlotte, Earnhardt will join his father, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.

He’ll be in a class that will also include a pair of stock car racing greats, Mike Stefanik — who was killed in a September plane crash — as well as 87-year-old Red Farmer.

Earnhardt received 76 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility.

“I knew when dad died I was going to assume most if not all of his fan base and I feel like I took care of that,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I didn’t squander that, I didn’t ruin that and I also introduced myself to a lot of people who never heard of Dale Earnhardt.”

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