An animated and upbeat Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke with NASCAR on NBC analyst Steve Letarte, his friend and former crew chief, about his concussion and recovery in a candid, in-depth interview.
The full version of the interview will air during Saturday’s NASCAR America. The show airs at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.
“I feel better,” Earnhardt told Letarte. “I’ve made some huge gains over the last five weeks. We’ve worked really, really hard to get there, and there’s still a lot of work to do. I still don’t feel like a regular person. The race car driver is even much further, the things that I need to tune and improve and fix are far beyond just getting where I can feel normal every day.”
Earnhardt also told the story about his improvement.
“For a while I had the issue with my gaze stability, which means while I’m walking, riding in a car, anytime my head is moving, objects off in the distance are going to shake and bounce,” he said. “For weeks and weeks it didn’t improve, but we were fixing my balance. My balance was getting better and better and better. I’m calling the doctor every other day, I’m like ‘Doc, my balance is getting better but my freaking eyes, man, give me some stuff to work these eyes.’ He’s like just be patient.
“This felt like forever, these five or six weeks. He was like look at it on a calendar, we haven’t been working on it this long. Then one day I woke up, my eyes had finally done something, finally shifted and something is getting better. Now I’m telling him, ‘Doc, my balance, man, we’ve got to work on my balance, my eyes have gotten a lot better.
“He says I’m a hard worker. I’ve worked with him in the past. I know what we’re capable of. This is a little bit longer journey but I know what we can.”
Earnhardt also shares an element of his treatment that is important to his recovery. Watch what he says in the video.