Dale Earnhardt Jr. says work on contract extension will resume ‘shortly’

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he expects to get with car owner Rick Hendrick “shortly” to continue talks about a contract extension now that Earnhardt has been cleared to race.

Earnhardt, 42, was approved by doctors and NASCAR to return to competition Wednesday after running 185 laps in a five-hour test session at Darlington Raceway.

Earnhardt’s contract with Hendrick Motorsports expires after the 2017 season. Earnhardt and Hendrick had talks about extending the contract before Earnhardt was forced to sit out the final 18 races of this past season because of a concussion.

Now that Earnhardt is set to go in the 2017 Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, he and Hendrick can finish work on the extension.

“We’ll probably revisit that before the season starts,’’ Earnhardt said Friday in a conference call with reporters. “I’ve told you guys that before we got sick, me and Rick had been sitting down and talking about our future and the extension and what we wanted to do, and all that stuff was starting to come together.

“We’re going to revisit that here shortly. That’s definitely something on our list to get done.’’

Earnhardt is entering his 10th season at Hendrick Motorsports. He left Dale Earnhardt Inc. to join Hendrick for the 2008 season.

Since being at Hendrick, Earnhardt has won nine wins, including the 2014 Daytona 500 and finished as high as fifth in the points (2013).