Media Tour – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Can’t Wait Until Daytona

Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants to get back to racing again. The man that fans fondly call, “Junior,” is chomping at the bit to get back in the No.88 Nationwide Chevrolet in about a month at one of his favorite tracks. Earnhardt talked with the assembled media at the 35th Annual NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway

It’s been a long six months since fans have seen Earnhardt in his ride, but Earnhardt is just as anxious as his loving fans. A crash in June at Michigan International Speedway caused NASCAR’s most popular driver to suffer symptoms of a concussion which became worse after the race at Kentucky Speedway in July. As a result, he did not complete the season but had a very full December. He married his long-time fiancé in December and pondered his future in the sport he loves. He saw a younger Carl Edwards step away from racing for three reasons, one of which was health concerns.

“To get approved to race is one thing but to decide to race is another,” Earnhardt said. “You have to make the decision if you want to keep racing and if you want to keep racing you’ve got to give 100 percent. I had to answer a lot of personal questions from myself and just really buy in (to returning). All of that was a process and I’m really happy with what I decided to do.

“I’m just hoping to enjoy what’s left of my career and hopefully I get to make the decision myself as far as how much longer I want to race. I’m really excited about my future.”

In the years prior to his injury, Earnhardt was a hot commodity on the track. He won seven races in 2014 and 2015, one of which was his second Daytona 500 in 2014, so he’s not ready to retire quite yet. There is much left to do.

“People have asked me since I turned 40 when I will retire. All I’ve ever said is that I want to be able to make that decision myself. I don’t know when I’m going to stop racing but I want to be able to make that choice and not have it made for me. All that stuff really showed me how much I’ve got going for me and how fun this really is. You can make it difficult or you can enjoy it. This is an incredible position to be in. I can see how you can get burned out a little bit but I’m certainly not feeling that way right now.”

That has to be good news to his many fans.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Fleshman
Ron Fleshman has followed NASCAR racing since attending his first race at Martinsville Speedway in 1964. He joined the Motor Sports Forum on the CompuServe network in the 1980s and became a reporter for Racing Information Systems in 1994. In 2002, he was named NASCAR Editor for RIS when it appeared on the World Wide Web as He can now be found at Ron is a member of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. You can find Ron following and reporting on the top three NASCAR divisions each week. As a lifer in his support of racing, he attends and reports on nearly 30 events a year and as a member of the motor sports media, his passion has been racing for 47 years. He lives with his family in rural West Virginia and works in the insurance industry when not on the road to another track.

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