One last season of laps for one of NASCAR's favorite drivers.

FOX's Chris Hoenig reports:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. announcing Tuesday that he will retire at the end of this NASCAR season:

(Earnhardt Jr.) "I just wanted the opportunity to go out on my own terms."

And Earnhardt nearly lost that chance last year, when a concussion forced him to miss the second-half of the season:

(Earnhardt Jr.) "During my rehab, I was given something else that I wasn't accustomed to and that was time. Time to understand what's important to me."

And that's starting a family with his new wife, Amy...

Earnhardt has won 26 Cup Series races, including two Daytona 500's. He is also a two-time champion in NASCAR's second tier and has won the most popular driver award 14 times.

The 42-year-old does plan to stay involved with auto racing and continue as an advocate for research of sports-related brain injuries.

Chris Hoenig, FOX News.

Follow Chris Hoenig on Twitter: @Chris_Hoenig