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CONCORD, N.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR Cup Series career will come to a close at the end of the 2017 season.

And for No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives and company, that has added even more fuel to the fire.

“With the news of today, we have the remaining races to go out there and have some fun, win some races and get the finishes we deserve,” he said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

While the circumstances might have changed, the focus of the squad has not.

“Each of our goals on the race team, in the 48-88 shop, at Hendrick Motorsports, is to give our drivers the opportunity to win races and a championship, and I don’t think it’s any different,” Ives said. “The passion and the want isn’t any different today than it was yesterday.”

If anything, it may be ratcheted up a few notches.

In his speech, Earnhardt noted that he shared the news with his No. 88 teammates Tuesday morning. Ives recalled the emotion involved in the moment.

“I think there was emotion on everybody’s part,” the crew chief said. “I was emotional – I know the team was. It’s one of those things that we’re wearing it together.”

But by the end of the chat, the emotion had turned to motivation.

Those guys are fired up,” Earnhardt said of his teammates. “Especially after today and talking to them this morning, we have a lot of urgency to go out there and try to make some things happen this year.”

Ives said that he has no doubt in the No. 88 team’s ability to capitalize on the remainder of the campaign, finish strong and find Victory Lane along the way.

“You’ve got to look at it as a blessing, in a way,” Ives said. “I have the opportunity to be with Dale Jr. in the last races of his career. I think that’s the way everybody feels who touches this Nationwide 88 car.”

“We’re going to stay focused and keep on grinding away and have some fun while doing it.”