Getty Images

Dale Earnhardt Jr. gives explanation of eye test after Daytona 500 crash

1 Comment

After Dale Earnhardt Jr. was involved in the wreck that knocked him out of Sunday’s Daytona 500, he did something unusual – but also something that has and will continue to become more normal for him as time goes on.

In laymen’s terms, Earnhardt gave himself an “eye test” to make sure he did not suffer any type of concussion-like symptoms from the impact.

During his weekly online podcast Monday, titled “Moving on after up ‘n down Speedweeks,” Earnhardt was very illustrative and candid about how he self-tested and self-diagnosed himself to make sure he wasn’t in any type of danger while he awaited rescue workers to get to him.

What Earnhardt said is fascinating in its context and content:

“We got a lot of questions and conversation about doing an eye test inside the car. So after the accident, we were sitting on the front straightaway, we got a red flag, so I decided to do a little self-diagnosing of my head.

“Obviously, going through everything we went through last year, I’m pretty self-aware and I understand there are a few things I can do. I’ve done a lot of training and rehab on my own over the last six months to get this concussion cleared up. So I understand a lot of things I can do to understand where I’m at, how healthy I am and whether I have any issues.

“One of those is a very simple eye test. Basically, you take the point of your finger, the end of your finger, or a dot on a piece of paper and bring it slowly close, kind of in-between your eyes to your nose. That dot or whatever the target is you’re looking at, you need to be able to hold that dot as one.

“What I mean is that as you get closer to your nose, eventually your eyes are going to go bonkers and it’s going to split and you’re going to see two dots. That needs to happen right off the tip of your nose, real close within an inch or so.

“If you have a head injury or any type of concussion, that object will split much further out, six inches or a foot out. That’s when you know you’ve got a little bit of an event going on in your head, however you want to describe it.”

Earnhardt first started using the self-test in December when he tested at Darlington Speedway to get medical clearance to return to driving a race car.

“It’s just a real quick, simple self-test that a doctor can use. When we were at Darlington testing for the clearance in December, (Dr. Jerry Petty) was there. Every time I got in the car, that was the first thing he did, over and over and over. When you go to Dr. Petty and say you think you have a concussion, that’s the first thing he’s going to do.

“I obviously brought a lot of attention to myself unnecessarily and I regret that, but I’m sitting there under the red flag and it’s eating me alive. A lot of the symptoms that I’ve had in concussions in the past, I don’t feel when I’m inside in the car, sitting down. Your heart is thumping, racing.

“That’s the only thing I could do to go okay, this looks normal, this feels normal. I should have waited until I got out of the car and not drawn so much attention to myself, but I couldn’t wait under the red flag and I wanted to know.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NASCAR America: Erik Jones’ racing roots in Byron, Michigan

Leave a comment

After a feature looking at his upbringing in Byron, Michigan, Furniture Row Racing driver Erik Jones spoke with NASCAR America’s Steve Letarte, Dale Jarrett and Marty Snider about the early years of his racing career.

The journey to his NASCAR career began with a yard cart that his late father, Dave Jones, brought home one day when he was 3.

“I rode that all day long around the yard,” Jones said. “Winter time would and we had like a gravel circle driveway in front of our house. When it would snow over I would get the kart out and ride it around in the snow because I could slide and I thought that was pretty cool. I would get it stuck about every five minutes out in the snow.”

Jones would then get out of the kart and find his dad in their barn to come out get him out.

Now 21, Jones also discussed how much his dad was involved in his career until his death in June 2016 after a battle with cancer.

He also explains how he’s never stayed in any series for more than one year in his career.

Watch the video above for the full discussion.

NASCAR America: Scan All from Cup playoff opener at Chicagoland

Leave a comment

“I sure as (expletive) hope that’s all out of our system.”

That’s what Kyle Busch had to say over his radio after he finished 15th, a lap down in the Cup playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway.

Busch’s day went south after the first stage thanks to two pit miscues the sent him two laps down.

Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr. dominate the field to win his fifth race of the year and advance to the second round of the playoffs.

In the latest “Scan All,” True and crew chief Cole Pearn recap their day, which saw them bounce back from their own pit road mistakes.

Here are other highlights from this week’s “Scan All.”

  • “Can’t drive in a straight line. Something’s not right with the front end.” – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. just before he made contact with the outside wall. A commitment line violation resulted in Stenhouse finish multiple laps off the lead.
  • “Tell the 1 (Jamie McMurray) I don’t know what happened there but we both got the short end of the stick.” – Ryan Newman after contact between him and McMurray sent McMurray spinning on a restart.
  • (Expletive), that 24 (Chase Elliott) can be so much (expletive) faster than us.” – Kasey Kahne after being told he was two laps down.

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: Erik Jones recounts rookie Cup season, being taught by Kyle Busch

Leave a comment

Erik Jones, the rookie driver for Furniture Row Racing in the No. 77 Toyota, joined NASCAR America Wednesday for a special show from the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The 21-year-old driver won the 2015 Camping World Truck Series title and is teammates with Martin Truex Jr.

With Marty Snider, Dale Jarrett and Steve Letarte, Jones discussed the challenges and lessons he’s faced in his first full-time season in the Cup Series.

“The biggest (milestones) for me were trying to win a race and making the playoffs,” Jones said. “Obviously, making the playoffs didn’t happen. … I look back at the last few seasons and rookies that have been in the sport and it’s so hard to win races now. You just don’t see rookies do it a lot.”

Jones also discussed finishing second to Kyle Busch in the Bristol night race and his relationship with the driver who brought him into NASCAR beginning with the Truck Series.

“A lot of times when I was racing in Trucks and Xfinity and Kyle would come to race I’d always run second to him,” Jones said. “I’m like, ‘you know what the problem is? This is the guy who taught me how to race these cars. So I’m good at all the same tracks he’s good at. Except he’s been doing about 10 more years than I have.”

Watch the video for more.

 

PJ1 adhesive to be applied again to track for this weekend’s races at Loudon

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the successful use of the PJ1 compound in July’s NASCAR Cup race there, New Hampshire Motor Speedway officials announced Wednesday they will apply the compound again to the track for this weekend’s racing.

The 1.058-mile flat track will play host to the Cup and Camping World Truck Series playoff races, as well as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the American Canadian Tour race series.

“There’s no question that the track bite compound we laid down in July allowed for some awesome racing around the entire racetrack,” NHMS executive VP and GM David McGrath said in a statement. “We received some very positive feedback from the drivers, teams and, most importantly, the fans. The support to do it again in September was overwhelming.”

McGrath said the PJ1 adhesive compound will be added to the first and third grooves in all four turns on Thursday evening. It will be reapplied again on Saturday night to be fresh for Sunday afternoon’s Cup race.

Several drivers gave their endorsement for the move:

Kyle Larson: “I think it’s awesome. I was surprised at how well it worked. I liked the element of it changing quickly and wearing out and then wearing out in different spots and stuff. It just adds an element to us that we have to adapt to. In the past … you kind of just run the same line all race long, but (in July) everybody I got around was running somewhat of a different line, and I thought that was a really cool thing.”

Joey Logano: “The question got put out to a lot of different drivers … from the (NASCAR Cup Drivers Council). We kind of got on our group chat and were talking back and forth about what we thought was best. (In the past) after 10 or 15 laps, everyone is kind of where they are at and passes don’t happen often. The wider we can make the racetrack, the more passes that can be made.”

Kyle Busch: “We always run that one lane here, which I call the middle lane. They were just trying to widen the racetrack a little bit and give a little bit more opportunity for us to be able to run side by side and not feel like we’re crashing here all the time or running into each other on restarts.”

Kevin Harvick: “I like the prospects of us trying different things. As the (summer Cup) race wore on, things changed. You had to move around. The PJ1 is one of those things that can definitely make the race better if you can add more lanes of racing.”

Austin Dillon: “I thought (the PJ1) held on good throughout the race in July; I’m a fan of it. July’s race was a blast and everyone is excited about it this time around. We’re going to be aggressive and just go after it this weekend.”