Industry analysts don’t anticipate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will retire quietly; the list of awards he has amassed in his career takes pages to print. Word of the third-generation National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing hero’s plans to exit the sport at the end of the season were made public in April. Other recently-retiring NASCAR greats include Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, and Jeff Gordon, who is credited with making NASCAR a household word. With a fan base of thousands, Earnhardt is perceived by some as the last of the legends. Jill Gregory, chief marketing officer for NASCAR, said corporate executives knew the time would come. But young drivers will not be pushed to be the next Dale or fit some prefabricated persona. Instead, promoters will highlight each’s authentic selling points. Earnhardt’s achievements attracted serious sponsors for the Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88, including Mountain Dew and Nationwide. Future high-octane sponsorships will be contingent upon the selection of a promising successor.