Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans vow to fly his flag long after he retires

KANSAS CITY, Kan. --  NASCAR fans packed into Kansas Speedway Saturday to cheer on crowd favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will retire after this year.

Flags flew high in the campgrounds surrounding the speedway Saturday almost like they were waving goodbye.

"I started watching him when I was a rookie fan and he was a rookie, so now I have to move on," Deb Kirchoffner from Washington said.

Jr. has given NASCAR fans plenty of memories to pass around the campground.

"When he does take the lead, especially at Talladega, you hear the world erupt," Dan Taylor said.

Colton Long, who is just 13 years old, was born an Earnhardt fan. His hope chest is full of memorabilia. Even his baby blankets and diaper bags sported the number 88.

"When I was three or four I went to one of the races and I was in all Dale Jr. stuff, and I got to see him," Long said.

But Earnhardt has never had good luck at Kansas Speedway. He hasn't won here in 20 tries, and Friday night, his car didn't pass inspection in time, so he didn't even take a qualifying lap.

Not to worry though, Claire Dowd said she wore a little good luck charm.

"This is my lucky shirt, and when I wore it one time before he has won," Dowd said. "So I'm wearing this all day today and hoping it goes well for him."

NASCAR fans have voted Jr. the most popular driver for 14 years. Fans of the driver promise to fly his flag for year to come after his retire.

"I just don't know what I'm gonna do without him," Dowd added.