CONCORD, N.C. – For the first time since he missed Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway due to concussion-like symptoms, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has addressed his current situation.
Sunday evening after the race, the driver recorded an introduction to this week’s The Dale Jr. Download podcast.
"I know there's probably a lot of speculation about what type of injury or symptoms I'm dealing with," Earnhardt said after praising the job that fill-in driver Alex Bowman did in the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS.
He began by reassuring fans that “my mind feels real sharp.”
He explained that he took the ImPACT test – a concussion evaluation tool – and his results matched his baseline from when he had no injury.
“(That) made me feel confident that my brain was pretty sharp,” he said. “It feels good.”
The symptoms he has been experiencing, he explained, are related to balance and nausea.
"To hear everybody wishing me well really, really does my heart good."Dale Earnhardt Jr.
He noted that he will continue to work with his doctors to understand more about his injury and how to treat it, including a list of exercises to help “retrain” his brain.
“It's just going to take a lot of patience and putting my health and quality of life as a top priority,” he said. “I'll always do that, so I'm going to take this slow and strictly follow the advice of my doctors and try to learn as much as I can to be smarter and wiser.”
While he was proud of Bowman’s performance at New Hampshire, he said he missed being at the track and seeing everyone from his teammates to his competitors, the media and the fans.
“I really appreciate all the support that I've gotten,” he said. “It's really unnecessary but really it does make me feel good, I have to be honest. To hear everybody wishing me well really, really does my heart good.”
Earnhardt did not give a definitive timeline for his return, but if he is unable to race this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon would get behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevy.
“I've got a lot of good people around me, a lot of people supporting me,” Earnhardt said. “Hope we can get back to the track soon.
“Until then, we'll try to keep you updated on the progress.”
To listen to the full podcast, click here.