We are at a remarkable juncture in NASCAR after Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he is retiring as a full-time driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series earlier this week.
Four-time Cup champ Jeff Gordon and three-time champ Tony Stewart also have formally retired, as has 2016 rookie Brian Scott. Carl Edwards won’t race this year but left the door open to return in 2018.
Greg Biffle, who last year was the oldest full-time Cup driver, has no ride at the moment and appears to be finished.
In the space of a few months, that means seven drivers who collectively have won seven championships and 216 races are leaving the Cup Series.
Which begs an obvious question: Who will be next? It’s a tough question, but it is important to point out that Edwards’ decision to pull the plug shocked most everyone.
Earnhardt was one of eight drivers older than Edwards, who is 37, at the time when Edwards stepped away. Here are the other seven:
NASCAR via Getty Images Jonathan Ferrey