Dale Earnhardt Jr assured by doctors he will race in NASCAR again

Dale Earnhardt Jr says he has been assured by doctors he can make a full recovery from his concussion-related symptoms and will eventually resume NASCAR Sprint Cup racing

Dale Earnhardt Jr assured by doctors he will race in NASCAR again

Doctors have now traced the trigger for Earnhardt's illness to a crash in the Michigan race in mid-June, with symptoms developing gradually over the following fortnight.

He stopped racing after the Kentucky round a month later, when he consulted neurologists as he suspected issues initially believed to be allergy-related were linked to the concussions he had suffered in two accidents in 2012.

There has been speculation that his condition could be career-threatening, but the 41-year-old said his current expectation was that he would be able to race again after suitable therapy.

"It's a challenge, but we've got some great doctors and I really believe and trust what they're telling me," he said at Watkins Glen on Friday, as he attended a race for the first time since his diagnosis.

"They tell me without question that I'm going to be able to get back to normal.

"I just have to do what they tell me. There's about two-to-three hours of physical and mental therapy I do every day.

"Not a lot of fun, some of it's pretty mundane, but it really stresses your symptoms."

Earnhardt said he had been encouraged to work on "exposure" techniques and carry out activities - such as visiting crowded and unfamiliar places - that would provoke the symptoms, which include anxiety and balance difficulties.

The Hendrick driver will miss at least the next two races, and said he was not yet at a stage where he could predict a return date.

"My doctors have a good understanding of my history and what I've been through and with their own personal knowledge to give me a clear understanding of when I'll be ready to go back and get in the racecar," said Earnhardt, who hopes NASCAR will relax its testing rules so he can assess his condition in the car before committing to a racing return.

"Our intentions are to get cleared and get back to racing. Just taking it one evaluation at a time.

"We hope and expect that when we go back for the next evaluation, we'll be symptom-free and can start to see a timeline develop.

"They're typically every two, three, four weeks.

"The point right now is to get healthy. I'm not thinking about 'what ifs'.

"We went into this with the intention of getting back in the car. I think that's a possibility and so do my doctors.

"My doctors feel great about the opportunity that I'll not only feel healthy again, but they can make my brain stronger to withstand these common events.

"The event at Michigan that they've tied this to, that shouldn't have been a concussion."

Earnhardt's former team-mate Jeff Gordon has come out of retirement to stand in for him at Hendrick until he is ready to return.

shares
comments
Dale Earnhardt Jr to miss at least two more NASCAR races
Previous article

Dale Earnhardt Jr to miss at least two more NASCAR races

Next article

NASCAR Watkins Glen: Denny Hamlin takes maiden Cup road course win

NASCAR Watkins Glen: Denny Hamlin takes maiden Cup road course win
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Plus

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Plus

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Plus

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his team-mate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Plus

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of its Next Gen arrival Plus

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of its Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Plus

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson’s journey to the 2021 NASCAR Cup title comes straight from the Hollywood blockbuster scripts. While Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons

NASCAR
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021