NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s peers reflect on his lost season

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. will officially return to NASCAR racing this weekend when he begins practicing for the Daytona 500.

He last raced in July before being forced to miss the last 18 races of the season due to a concussion he sustained in a June race at Michigan International Speedway.

Some of Earnhardt’s fellow drivers spoke with NASCAR America about the what learned from Earnhardt’s absence.

Danica Patrick: “Junior being out last year I think was sad and shocking, no doubt. But it was also really good. It’s really good for someone of his caliber to have the gut to get out of the car and say ‘I’m not right, I’m not going to get it in the car,’ because most of any of us would just tough it out, whatever it was. We don’t want people to think we’re weak.”

Kyle Larson: “Anytime you step out of your car, one of the things you love the most, it’s got to be tough. To see how hard he worked to get his mind right and body to come back to racing was inspiring.