Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire at end of season.

Jr. announced this morning that this will be his last as a driver. Joining the list of drivers like Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon getting out before the sport does them in. I would think the health issues he suffered last year and getting married made the decision a lot easier.

I am a little surprised he waited until after the “west coast swing” - this means the Vegas and Auto Club (southern California) tracks won’t be able to give him a “proper sendoff.” At least the fans in those areas can still go to the Sonoma race in June or the Phoenix race during the Chase.

I wonder if Junior Nation will request that NASCAR remove its “you have to be an active driver in order to be in the All-Star Race” rule (and then talk him into driving in it) - I think having him (and Jeff Gordon, and Tony Stewart, and maybe even Mark Martin) back just for that race would be entertaining. They’d all be eligible, as Junior, Gordon, and Smoke are all former Cup champions, and Martin won the race at least once.

I disagree, only because where do you draw the line? As fun as it would be to see them compete again, do you really want to start making Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace, Bill Elliott, etc. all eligible?

Keep in mind that a lot of them were already eligible in the early 2000s before NASCAR invented the “ten-year rule” (I am not sure why, but I have a feeling Mark Martin winning the All-Star Race in what was supposed to be his farewell season - he even said that he would be back if someone would give him a ride for the race, before he changed his mind about retiring - had something to do with it). I don’t expect to see Richard Petty saying, “You know, I can probably still show these kids a thing or two,” either.

Then again, how about putting them in, say, late models for a race before the qualifying race on the previous day?

How many tickets would that sell at Eldora?