After months of rehabilitation from a brain injury, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will finally be appearing at major racing events this weekend – though he won’t be racing.
The famous driver has not raced since early July, due to complicated and long-lasting post-concussion symptoms, and has already decided to sit out the rest of the season to fully recovery. However, he recently announced his plans to drive at XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup events this weekend.
“It’s going to be different, tough … maybe not a ton of fun,” Earnhardt told listeners. “It’s a bit weird to not be in the car but to be at the track when you’re a driver. You don’t know what to do with yourself. But, I’m gonna try to support the guys and learn a thing or two.”
After his most recent evaluation, Earnhardt says he is almost entirely recovered, but he still struggles with some symptoms.
“My eyes are really, really good,” Earnhardt said on his “The Dale Jr. Download” podcast. “I had some issues with them for a while that were pretty frustrating and those have really gotten better. … Basically, when I get in these environments, the symptoms I have now are balance.”
The news marks a major improvement from recent updates suggesting significant symptoms were still plaguing the driver. Now, he says he is almost back to being a “normal person,” but will have to work before he is ready to get back onto the racetrack.
“My doctor talks about getting me back to being a normal person, and then there’s work in getting me back to being a race-car driver,” he said. “We’re almost back to where I’m a normal, functioning person with no issues. But to become that guy I need to be inside the car, we have to train my senses to be really perfect.”
The biggest focus of his continuing training rehabilitation will be focused on balance and exposure to unfamiliar environments. The driver says that when he is in familiar and safe environments, he feels unaffected by his headache. However, “The only thing that triggers the symptoms is going somewhere I’m unfamiliar with and going somewhere where it’s busy.”