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Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins NBC team for 2018 NASCAR broadcasts

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Earnhardt Jr.: 'Don't see myself detaching from NASCAR' (1:07)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. publicly addresses his retirement and explains why he doesn't want to leave the sport he loves. (1:07)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make the move to television upon his retirement from full-time NASCAR Cup racing after this season.

Earnhardt, voted Most Popular Driver 14 times, will be part of the NBC broadcast team for the 2018 season. He will join a group that includes his former crew chief Steve Letarte, who entered the booth in 2015.

"It is a tremendous honor not only to join NBC Sports next year but to begin a new career alongside people who love NASCAR as much as I do," Earnhardt said in a news release. "To be reunited with Steve Letarte, to be able to call legends like [NBC analysts] Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty teammates rather than just friends, to be able to continue going to the track and connecting with race fans, it's a privilege I don't take lightly.

"I will devote my heart and soul to this broadcast team and pledge my very best to the millions who watch it."

Earnhardt's exact duties during the telecasts, which cover the second half of the NASCAR Cup season, are still to be determined. Earnhardt said during a conference call that he will be a part of every NASCAR Cup race broadcast but won't have much of a role in the Xfinity Series broadcasts because he owns a race team in the series.

"This is probably the first real job I've had in 20 years," Earnhardt said. "The thrill of actually calling the race in the booth is something that's hard to explain until you do it."

He said that he really enjoyed being in the booth for some races last year, and that the biggest thing he will have to overcome is "pure nerves" and stage fright."

With more than 2.2 million Twitter followers and as the owner of internet-based Dirty Mo Radio, which includes his popular podcast, Earnhardt is known as one of the drivers who engages most with his fans.

He hired talent agency WME to represent him in seeking opportunities following his announcement in April that he would retire after the 2017 season. He is doing a home renovation show in Key West, Florida, for the DIY Network.

"Anything that Dale does to continue to be a part of this NASCAR group -- whether it's a team owner, whether it's a partial schedule ... whether it's in the TV booth -- any of that would be good for NASCAR just because of how much he cares for the sport," Letarte said last month.

The multiyear contract is with NBCUniversal and affords Earnhardt opportunities across the company, including movies, television and podcasts. NBC also will partner with Earnhardt for some of his other businesses, such as Dirty Mo Radio and his production company, Hammerhead Entertainment.

"He's a talented guy, and I think he'd be a great addition to any broadcast because he is curious and asks good questions and cares deeply about the sport," NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood said last month. "And that's the hallmark of our group. These people care deeply about the sport of NASCAR and the growth of NASCAR and continuing to evolve the sport and make it a must-see TV."