Ernie Irvan Announces Retirement

ERNIE IRVAN RETIREMENT Darlington Raceway September 3, 1999 Note: M&M's Pontiac driver Ernie Irvan announced his immediate retirement from Winston Cup racing today. ERNIE IRVAN (No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix): "This is really a ...

Ernie Irvan Announces Retirement
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ERNIE IRVAN RETIREMENT Darlington Raceway September 3, 1999

Note: M&M's Pontiac driver Ernie Irvan announced his immediate retirement from Winston Cup racing today.

ERNIE IRVAN (No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix): "This is really a special moment in my career. It's probably one I thought I'd probably never have to face. I figure it's smart for me to retire. There's nothing that the doctors have actually told me. They did say if I had another accident like the one I've had and had another accident like the one I had at Michigan earlier, it would probably be detrimental to me to be able to live a wholesome life. I have two kids that are great. I have a wife. They mean a lot to me. All of the people with this race team have really supported me. It's something that brings tears to my eyes, knowing that I'll never drive a Winston Cup car again. I know it's something that I'm very cherished with what Winston Cup racing has done for me. I never thought I'd have this many people listen to me tell them that I'm going to retire. I guess a lot of times people wonder what I've got up my sleeve. Normally I have something up my sleeve, but I don't have anything this time. I know that my family means a lot to me. I know my son Jared's future may some day be Winston Cup. If he so happens to want to do that, that's what I'm going to help him do. I feel very fortunate to be able to sit here and tell everybody that I know it's probably good for me to retire so I can comprehend what I'm saying. The doctors have told me it's a miracle that I've been able to do what I've been able to do, being able to survive some of the accidents that I've had. They've never told me that I won't survive again, but they also told me that I'm very fortunate to survive what I have. Jared is a special person in my life and so is Jordan. They (doctors) told me that if I was ever able to drive my little girl to school (after his first Michigan crash) that it was going to be a very pleasurable moment. I've not only been able to drive her to school I've been able to help her with school. I got to drive her to school this week and from that moment on I said, 'This is something that I treasure.' Your family means a lot to you and my family has been great to me. Right now I can comprehend everything that Jordan is going through. Hopefully, Jared is going to grow up and want to be a race car driver and follow in his dad's footsteps. Jordan has already told me that she doesn't want to be a race car driver. I'm going to do everything I can to help (them) live a great life. "This sport grows a lot of tough people. I know that Irvan-Semo Racing is looking forward to the future. We hope to advance my Winston Cup racing team with Federated Auto Parts into a full-fledged Winston Cup team. Right now we've got to make it advance a little bit. All my race fans have been an amazing part of my career. Being able to distinguish different people and being able to be involved with all the race fans, it's amazing how the sport has grown. I never thought I'd be able to draw this much attention because I'm going to retire. I've won a race before and I don't think we had this many people. I know that it's a pleasurable moment in my career to be able to sit here in front of everybody. There have been a lot of times where people thought I'd never be able to sit here and comprehend what I'm saying and that I'm retiring. It's really hard for me to say that because it means that I'm never going to drive a Winston Cup car. Also, being able to sit here with my son, little girl and wife, that's what makes it all worthwhile. I'm hopefully going to help them do whatever they want in their career. "Obviously, the race track at Michigan saved my life (after his first nearly fatal crash there). The facility that they had and the people that they had to help, the doctors and all that stuff, that really saved my life. Being able to win there, that was an awesome time. I was driving for Robert Yates and it was an awesome time. Being able to win a Winston Cup race knowing that I almost died at that race track. Again, there the ones that saved my life. "(The decision to retire) was solely between me and my family. Again, I went to the doctor a couple of days ago. When the doctor picks up the paper he's going to see that I decided to retire. He didn't know it. He didn't tell me that I needed to retire. He told me that there are a lot of things that can hinder me from being able to carry on a regular life. It was my decision to be able to retire. There was nobody quizzing me about it. Everybody here has watched me race and knows that I give it 110 percent every day. They realize, obviously, I don't want to retire. Today I don't want to retire, but I know that it's the smart thing to do. To be able to sit right here and say, 'The smartest thing for me to do is retire, because I don't know if I'm going to be able to survive another wreck like I had at Michigan. Two of them at Michigan.' I appreciate everyone's support. "Everything that I've done and been able to accomplish in the sport has made me decide that the smartest thing I can do is look to the future and retire. A lot of times, financially, you can't retire. I'm able to make that decision and make it smart. I know that my wife and kids (are taken care of). That means a lot to me. Obviously, being able to come back and drive again was a dream come true. It's still a dream. Winston Cup racing is something I love to do, but I know it's smart for me to say, 'Hey, I don't want to push the envelope.' I'm 40-years-old and my experience in Winston Cup racing has been very good and there's no doubt that I don't want to push the envelope. There are a lot of things Ernie Irvan can do for his career, but hey, right now I'm going to hang it up as a driver. "I made the decision on my own. The doctor didn't really say anything that made me say, 'No matter what I've got to retire.' The doctor just told me that the first time I came back it was a full-fledged miracle. He kind of explained to me how many miracles can you have. That kind ofwoke me up. There's no doubt it's going to be hard because all my career has pointed to being able to race in Winston Cup. I've been able to win a few, I've been able to lose a few. Sometimes it's been my fault. Sometimes it's been other people's fault. It's been a great career and that's the important part. I cherish the moments I had in Winston Cup racing. I've had a lot of fun with everybody. Thank you."

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