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NASCAR stars and fans react to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s retirement announcement

Fans and fellow racing stars have been NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced in a statement Tuesday that he will be retiring after the 2017 season.

Earnhardt, 42, broke the news to members of his No. 88 Hendrick motorsports team early Tuesday morning and was scheduled share more about his decision in a press conference with owner Rick Hendrick later on Tuesday afternoon.

The son of a NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt Sr., Earnhardt made his debut at the Cup Series in 1999, and would go on to win 26 Cup Series races -- including two Daytona 500 wins -- and raced more than 600 times in his career.

See Twitter reactions from fans

14 PHOTOS
NASCAR fans reacts to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement announcement
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NASCAR fans reacts to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement announcement
Been up since 4. 😐 Woke up like 😳
@DaleJr Fans are gonna miss you in 2018!
@DaleJr @linzsports Dale - stay woke! We ❤️you 🇺🇸
@DaleJr Simon says....noooooo! #dontleave #willmorebarrymanilowhelp
@DaleJr I hear ya... my brain will just not turn off lately.... 😱
@JMorrisTV @DaleJr Thanks for all you've given to the sport. Wishing you nothing but the best in your future endeavors.
@DaleJr We love and support you now and always. You and @AmyEarnhardt have our love and support
@mary4jr88 @DaleJr @AmyEarnhardt So true but this grown ass man me is still crying thinking about this hugs Mary so sad
@jrisgr88 @DaleJr @AmyEarnhardt 😢😢💔
@DaleJr Pls don't leave https://t.co/SIhcLKPHp1
@DaleJr Let's end this with a Championship..what do ya say?!
@DaleJr Still alot more racing left. Keep your head up. Stay positive!
@DaleJr Well .. Jr. As it turns out . 2017 will be my last year for NASCAR as well . #NoEarnardt..NoMe.
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The blockbuster announcement had friends and fans in the "Junior Nation" reeling, with heartfelt reactions popping up across Twitter and beyond.

"You're a hell of a friend and teammate @DaleJr, I'm really happy for you and @AmyEarnhardt," fellow NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson tweeted.

Many in the NASCAR community echoed Johnson's words as they learned of the looming end of Junior's 20-year racing career.

See more reactions from the NASCAR community

11 PHOTOS
NASCAR community reacts to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement announcement
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NASCAR community reacts to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement announcement
Really bummed to see a career come to an end, but crazy excited to see where it goes from here. #Bossman #Hero… https://t.co/NvRsOaEZx7
I'm really excited for the next chapter in @DaleJr and @AmyEarnhardt lives. JR has made #NASCAR so much better and will continue to do so.
Excited to see what the future holds for @DaleJr, think he will be just as captivating and influential off track as he was while on track.
Sad to see him leave Cup competition, been an icon in our sport for many years. Excited for him on what may lay ahe… https://t.co/khoQedlmJl
Proud that @DaleJr is retiring his way and on his terms. Thank you for all you continue to do for our sport.
Sad to lose a teammate, but incredibly happy for @DaleJr. We're wishing you the best of luck in what lies ahed. 👊🏻 https://t.co/wHVQQkOXMq
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is currently the 11th most mentioned driver on TV this year. We are pretty sure that is about to change
Guys and gals, I've got much to say, but Dale goes first. Press conference later today. His news. His story. His day.
Amazing what @DaleJr has done for the sport and the impact he's had on all of us. It'll be cool to watch him finish out this year strong
Nothing but respect for @DaleJr Amazing guy and an amazing career. https://t.co/ynWGbbqZwC
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His sister, Kelly Earnhardt, also chimed in early Tuesday to shared her support.

But the driver's wife, Amy Earnhardt, might have had the most touching response of all.

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