With the ti­tle, he’d ride off

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - MARK LONG

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. — Dale Earn­hardt Jr. would con­sider re­tire­ment if he won his first NASCAR Cup ti­tle this sea­son.

Earn­hardt, 42, missed half of last year be­cause of an­other con­cus­sion. The son of the late racer Dale Earn­hardt says he might walk away if he won a cham­pi­onship in his come­back sea­son. Earn­hardt re­it­er­ated at Daytona 500 me­dia day Wed­nes­day what he said a day ear­lier on the “Dan Pa­trick Show” on NBC Sports.

Ju­nior said he was speak­ing tongue and cheek ini­tially, but made it clear he would con­sider call­ing it quits if he won his first Cup ti­tle. His fa­ther died in a race ac­ci­dent at Daytona in 2001 at age 49.

“Hell, yeah, man,” he said. “I would def­i­nitely not want to come back and try to race any­more if I won the cham­pi­onship. I would be outta here. I’ve al­ways wanted to win a cham­pi­onship so badly, and com­ing back from this in­jury, we worked so hard, so to come back this year and win a cham­pi­onship, it would be hard not to hang it up.”

Earn­hardt added that this is the last year of his con­tract with Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports. He is putting off ne­go­ti­a­tions while he com­pletes his re­turn.

“I would like to race more, but if I win the cham­pi­onship, I’d have to con­sider go­ing out on top,” he said.

“I mean, I don’t know. It just re­ally de­pends on a lot of dif­fer­ent things. I said that a lit­tle tongue and cheek yes­ter­day, but I would def­i­nitely con­sider it. That’s the last box I don’t have checked re­ally.”

JEFF SINER, TNS

If Dale Earn­hardt Jr. wins the NASCAR Cup ti­tle this year, he says he would se­ri­ously con­sider re­tir­ing.

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