CONCORD, NC (FOX 46) - The woman who watched 'little E' grow up said she just wants him to be happy. Martha Earnhardt, Dale Jr.'s grandmother, spoke with FOX 46 Charlotte on Tuesday following the announcement of his retirement.
"It just won't seem right without an Earnhardt on the race track," she said.
Martha Coleman Earnhardt and her family helped give birth to the sport.
"My husband started it and that's how long we've been racing," Martha explained.
The legacy her husband began just may have come to an end on Tuesday, April 25. Martha's grandson announced he is retiring at the end of the season.
"I think he's done really well to do what he's done. I'm very proud of him," she said.
Dale Jr. carried the family name through what may have been the darkest day in the history of the sport. In 2001 his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., was killed in a crash at the Daytona 500.
"That's the hardest thing I've ever had to do is bury a child because that's like a part of me," Martha said.
Depite the difficulty for her grandson, Jr. continued doing the sport his father loved, suffering a season-ending concussion in 2016.
Something else happened - he got married. So what's next?
"I think he would like to have children but he needs to get busy if he wants to before he gets too old to play with them," Martha said.
Who knows what is next for NASCAR's most popular driver, but his grandmother hopes the Earnhardt legacy will continue on. And Martha just may get her wish - her great-grandson Jeffrey, who is Dale Jr.'s nephew, is a NASCAR series driver.