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Stock car racing is incredibly thrilling. Nothing is more exciting than watching the talents of drivers during The Daytona 500. We hold high admiration for these drivers and don’t doubt that countless hours have gone in over the years into practice and developing the skills to control a 3300 lb four wheeled race car at 200 miles an hour inches form 40 other drivers! . However, all good things come to an end and when the NASCAR drivers’ career is over, what do they do when they retire?
Many retired drivers choose to remain with NASCAR giving commentary or analytics during races. Many individuals choosing more than one hobby, they like to run their own businesses and/or charitable foundation. Featuring as a voice over in various medias, several appear in video games or movies.
So while some drivers leave the sport entirely, having done their bit, others stay on and help the next generation of NASCAR drivers, and some make wine! And one even became the fastest NASCAR driver of all time after retirement!!
Read on to uncover the variety of activities NASCAR drivers do after retirement, and to find out who was the fastest retired, current or any other type of NASCAR driver in history.
Why Do NASCAR Drivers Retire?
NASCAR drivers retire at ages below the usual average of 65. Retiring younger between ages 30 to 50, they wish to reduce the risk of long-term injuries, enjoy the money they have earned, leave at a time when they can obtain sponsors (this is not an easy task), and take themselves away from race rules that forever change.
Although some are forced to retire due to medical advice, or injury, NASCAR driving is arguably becoming a young person’s game ( you can check the average age of NASCAR drivers here) and over 30 is often considered veteran in NASCAR now.
To be going from the hectic schedule of weekly racing all over the country to nothign at 30-50 years old can come as a shock, and most, though not all, look for something to replace it.
What Do NASCAR Drivers Do After Retirement?
Considering drivers retire at an age when they’re still, hopefully, in good health, there are a number of different activities that they undertake to remain proactive.
Create And Run Their Own Businesses
Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr followed his passion for motor vehicles. He devised and ran his own automotive dealership in Florida called Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Buick-GMC-Cadillac.
Vehicle dealerships is a go to activity for many retired drivers including Ricky Craven and Sterling Marlin. They run motorcycle and Dodge dealerships. With their car knowledge and celebrity status it is a prefect fit.
Not all business ventures for drivers are vehicle related. Ever the adventurist, Ryan Newman enjoys scoping for business opportunities and currently has his own licensed clothing line.
For some, the thrill of speed remains with them but alternatively to the track. Geoff Bodine owns his own powersports dealership.
Commentating And Mentoring
Their experience of racing makes commentating an ideal further career to pursue. With their charismatic personalities and strong hearts for NASCAR, remaining in this environment is popular.
Drivers such as Jeff Gordon and Geoff Bodine have continued their ties with NASCAR reporting on racing. This can also turn into commentating on the analytics of driving within NASCAR events.
Maintaining their love for NASCAR, some retired drivers choose to offset their knowledge of racing to other prospective racers, such as Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace.
Preservation, Foundations And Advocacy
Interests can run beyond the track. Several retirees have followed their other interests in preservation for wildlife and history. Using their popularity and fame to influence, many retirees also spend their time in public speaking and offering their support for a range of charitable causes.
- Ryan Newman has his own rescue shelter that specializes in rehousing companion animals.
- Another animal lover and keen advocate, Ward Burton launched his own foundation called Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, that puts funding into wildlife conservation.
- Still associated to racing but in an informative manner, Richard Petty launched a museum into his family’s history of NASCAR in North Carolina.
- Putting funding into the hands of those who need it, Jimmie Johnson founded and runs a charity that gives money to those in need called ‘The Jimmie Johnson Foundation’.
- Not a foundation owner himself but yet a keen advocate, Elliot Sadler assists with the Autism Speaks Foundation and speaks widely on college basketball.
Gaming And Voicing
Continuing public appearances and maintaining popularity, many retired drivers turn their hands to video gaming or movies. Not necessarily playing or having a large solo feature, these retired drivers faces or voices feature on video games, movies and music videos:
- Dale Earnhardt Jr – had a voiceover part in Disney’s Cars as Number 8.
- Elliot Sadler – became the face of NASCAR’s 2007 video game.
- Kurt Busch – also on video games, Kurt additionally features on an iRacing simulator.
- Bill Elliot – featured on the cover of video game NASCAR Challenge.
- Tony Stewart – in a music video for band 3 Doors Down.
Some hobbies are so unique to the person that they have their own category under alternative.
- Danica Patrick – produces her own wine and maintains her own vineyard.
- Tony Stewart – forever an outdoorsman, Tony enjoys deer hunting and had his own hunting ranch.
- Jimmie Johnson – enjoyed being on his own two feet and running marathons or completing triathlons.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr – during his more private moments, Dale enjoys cooking. Unique in what he makes, he likes to create new flavours such as with bananas and mayonnaise. Classically, he likes to make biscuits with a barbecue.
- Carl Edwards – enjoys farming in his free time and grows food for trading.
- Richard Petty – created and runs his own NASCAR team called Petty GMS Motorsports. They began racing in 2000.
- Juan Pablo Montoya – still driving but having retired from NASCAR, he is the driver for teams Arrow Mclaren Racing, Dragon Speed Racing and Meyer Shank Racing.
Do All Sportsman Retire in This Manner?
It’s not only NASCAR drivers that choose these pursuits in retirement. Giving commentary over sports events is a recurring theme throughout many other events such as for American Football.
Talents for voice overs and media features can run further than the odd video game. Many sports people go on to become actors in movies, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger who was a bodybuilder way before a movie star and politician, or Jason Stratham who was a successful diver before staring in movies.
Not all remain in the limelight but are equally not ready for retired life. Many others choose to hold regular jobs. Myron Rolle became a Doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Can You Still Drive in NASCAR when Older?
For some drivers retirement is something other people do, and there are some examples of drivers who keeping going when the rest of use are in a pipe and slippers at home. We have an article on the oldest NASCAR drivers here on the site which give more details. However is a nutshell below you will find the oldest NASCAR drivers below.
These ages are as of October 2022.
|Oldest current Full Time NASCAR Driver
|Oldest Part time NASCAR Driver
|Oldest Driver in top 3 NASCAR Series
|Oldest Ever NASCAR Driver
|Kevin Harvick – 46
|Boris Said – 59
|Morgan Shepard – 77
|Hershel Mcgriff – 94
Some retired drivers just keep getting faster, and Bob Keselowski ( the father of Brad and XXX ) became the fastest NASCAR driver in history in 2018 when he took a dodge charger NASCAR race car to the salt flat in Bonneville Utah and powered it to 271 miles an hour. it made him the fastest NASCAR driver of all time.
and he did that while retired!
You can read more about this on the link above and below
NASCAR will always remain in the hearts of those who touch the tracks. Although often retiring young to follow other interests, there seems to be a trend of ex-drivers that like to pass their knowledge onto others, advocate, start own businesses that are in the motor industry and feature on media to the public.
Some, like Bob Keselowski keep pushing the limits like NASCAR’s version of Maverick from top Gun.
They are mostly kind individuals who like to assist others in need and for a small few (such as Sterling Marlin), like to calmly slip into peaceful retirement out of the limelight after such an intense few years and who can blame them for that!