Earnhardt Jr.: "If I win championship, I'll consider retirement"

As Dale Earnhardt Jr. dealt with his third concussion in four years last season, it wasn't lost on those he raced against what NASCAR's most popular driver was experiencing.

Late February is always busy down in Daytona, as Speed Weeks culminates in the running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, kicking off the 2017 NASCAR season.

NASCAR has begun rolling out an expansive social media plan heading into this weekend's Daytona 500 as the sanctioning body looks to drum up viewership for and engagement around the sports biggest race.

During Wednesday's press conference, Earnhardt was asked if he'd consider retiring if he won this season's NASCAR title.

Earnhardt missed the last half of the 2016 NASCAR season and will be racing for the first time this Sunday since last July. And coming back from this injury, we've worked so hard.

"We like to sweep it all under the rug as drivers like we feel fine, nothing's wrong", Patrick said Wednesday at Daytona 500 media day.

Johnson earned a record-tying seventh career Cup Series crown a year ago, and also has two Daytona 500 victories to his credit, but finished a disappointing 16th last year.

Junior has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 2008, and is now in the final year of his contract.

"It makes you pay attention to yourself, and there's nothing better than having somebody like Dale Jr. going as far as getting out of the auto as long as he did, saying, 'Hey, I have a problem, ' because it makes it more available to everyone else", Patrick added.

"It just really depends on a lot of different things", Earnhardt said, reflecting on the idea of the 2017 championship. "I said that a little tongue in cheek yesterday, but I'd definitely consider it because that's the last box I don't have checked really".

Earnhardt had mentioned stepping away should he win a title earlier in the week. "There's a few races I'd like to win, but the championship would definitely be the icing on the cake for my career".