Stressing patience and saying he will take “this slow and strictly follow the advice of my doctors,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke about his symptoms and his condition.
Earnhardt’s comments came Sunday evening and were made on the Dale Jr. Download on Earnhardt’s Dirty Mo Radio. He spoke for about three minutes.
Earnhardt did not compete last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway because of concussion-like symptoms. He said he’s suffered balance issues and nausea.
“It’s just going to take a lot of patience,” Earnhardt said. “I put my health and quality of life as a top priority, and 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 be wiser.”
On his symptoms, Earnhardt said: “I’ve struggled with my balance over the last four or five days. I definitely wouldn’t be able to drive a race car (New Hampshire) weekend … I made the decision that I had to make. I’m going to continue to work with my doctors to understand more about the injury and how to treat it. They can give me a lot exercises that will retrain my brain to handle what I need to handle.”
Earnhardt also stressed that “my mind feels real sharp. I took the ImPACT test, which measures thought process and the speed of your thought process, memory and retaining memory, and my results matched my baseline, which made me feel confident that my brain was pretty sharp.”
Earnhardt thanked all those for their support.
“I really appreciate all the support that I’ve got,” he said. “It’s really unnecessary but really does make me feel good, I have to be honest. To hear everybody wishing me well, really, really does my heart good. This kind of thing can beat you down and get you sad, but I’ve got a lot of good people around, lot of people supporting me, so I hope we can get back to the track soon.”
Earnhardt also discussed Alex Bowman, who drove for him at New Hampshire.
“Proud of Alex Bowman,” Earnhardt said. “He did a great job. I knew he would. We had a great car at the test. (Crew chief) Greg (Ives) and all those guys did a good job over the weekend getting him comfortable. I was kind of plugged in with what they were doing throughout the weekend. It was fun to be feel like I was part of it. I missed all my guys. I missed the drivers and the media and everybody, missed the fans, missed being at the track, but I couldn’t ask for a better substitute there.”
New Hampshire marked the third race he’s missed in his career because of a concussion-related injury. He skipped Chase races at Charlotte and Kansas in 2012 after two crashes within six weeks left him with concussion symptoms.
Earnhardt said in a statement last weekend that he did not feel well at Kentucky. After receiving medicine for allergies and a sinus infection, he still did not feel well. Earnhardt said that because of his symptoms, his history with concussions and after recent crashes at Michigan and Daytona, he sought a neurological specialist.
Hendrick Motorsports officials have said that Jeff Gordon will come out of retirement to drive the No. 88 this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway if Earnhardt is not medically cleared to race. A decision is expected Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.