NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr encouraged by signs of recovery

Dale Earnhardt Jr believes he is now seeing progress in his recovery from the concussion-related illness that curtailed his 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season

NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr encouraged by signs of recovery

Earnhardt has not raced since July due to symptoms with roots in 2012 concussions that were triggered again by a crash at Michigan in June.

He attended last weekend's Darlington race with his doctor Micky Collins from the University of Pittsburgh's sports medicine concussion programme.

"It seems like this has lasted a really long time, but when you look at it on paper it has been a very short period and the gains that I've felt in that short period give me a lot of confidence that this is going in the right direction," said Earnhardt, who will not race again before 2017.

"I struggled with my eyes for a while and I'm starting to see improvements there. I was thrilled to wake up one day and feel a difference.

"Riding in a car or walking to gain stability is starting to improve, which was a major relief for me because that was probably the most difficult thing to deal with because it was there 24 hours a day."

Dr Collins confirmed that Earnhardt was making progress.

"When I first saw Dale a month-and-a-half ago I can tell you he was pretty sick," he said.

"He was having problems with the vestibular system, with the ocular system and with some anxiety and mood issues very much associated with these problems.

"My goal was to see Dale become a human being again and I can tell you with confidence that is occurring in front of our eyes.

"He is feeling better. He can tolerate a lot more. He is having fewer and fewer symptoms and is doing very well.

"To me, the number one goal is to get Dale feeling normal as a human being. The second goal is Dale becoming a racecar driver again.

"Yes, we will be working on that as well. I'm very confident that we are moving in the right direction in that respect."

Earnhardt admitted he had never expected his layoff to be so long but completely agreed with the decision to sit out the rest of 2016.

"I think it's the right decision considering how I feel personally and physically," he said.

"I definitely don't belong in a racecar today by any stretch of the imagination."

He remains confident both of returning in 2017 and extending his current Hendrick contract.

"I'm only 41. I think I have some good years left. I'm as good as I have ever been inside the car," he said.

"We went through this process in 2012. It was very scary and difficult. Micky told me that I would one day be well and I would win races again, and he was right.

"I had some of the greatest years and racing experiences of my career shortly after that.

"He's telling me that this is possible again, and I believe it."

shares
comments
Stewart-Haas driver Kevin Harvick slams "terrible" NASCAR pit crew

Previous article

Stewart-Haas driver Kevin Harvick slams "terrible" NASCAR pit crew

Next article

NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase: Newman's hopes hit by points penalty

NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase: Newman's hopes hit by points penalty
Load comments
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021
Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines Plus

Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines

The American stock car scene is more famous for its close racing and occasional punch-ups, but there have been some fantastic machines too. As part of Autosport's 70th anniversary celebrations in 2020, we picked out five of its best

NASCAR
Jan 3, 2021
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Plus

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future

NASCAR
Nov 17, 2020
Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy Plus

Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy

The last season of a retiring NASCAR great has shown promise, and may have resulted in another playoff push without small issues outside his control. 2020 won't be the year Jimmie Johnson would have wanted, but it won't be what he is remembered for

NASCAR
Sep 3, 2020