Tha Sports Junkies 101

No Timetable For Dale Earnhardt Jr To Return


Dale Earnhardt Jr was at a racetrack for the first time since being sidelined with concussion-like symptoms prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 17th. Unfortunately for fans of the sport’s most popular driver, it wasn’t to climb back into the number 88 Chevrolet.

Earnhardt spoke at length on Friday afternoon in the media center at Watkins Glen, where the Sunday’s Cheezit 355 will be the fourth consecutive race in which Earnhardt will not compete. It was also announced earlier in the week that he will not participate in next weekend’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway.

However, Earnhardt made it clear from the very start of the press conference that he has every intention of returning to competition this year. “Our intentions are to get cleared and get back to racing.”, he said. “We are taking it one evaluation at a time.” However, while it seems Dale is following the advice of his physicians, he clearly has some disappointment with the situation he has found himself in. “It’s very frustrating to do that”, he lamented. “I just want to get better.”

Earnhardt Jr has enjoyed a bit of a career resurgence over the past three years. From 2008 to 2013, he only visited victory lane twice. Since the start of the 2014 season, he has racked up seven victories. He had 5 top fives and 6 top tens, including 4 runner up finishes in the first 18 races this year. He was 13th in points after Kentucky but it appears he will likely miss the Chase after qualifying for it each of the past 5 seasons.

However, Dale’s long term outlook remains positive. He says his doctors tell him without question, he will get back to normal. “Process isn’t as fast as you would like it to be. I believe and trust what the docs are telling me.” He added “The point right now is just to get healthy, just to get right.”

As for anyone who may be worried that Earnhardt Jr has driven his last race, he said “I never expected to miss this many races. I never expected it to take this long.” But he added that he has “every intention of honoring my current contract.” It appears that once his symptoms subside and doctors give the all clear, expect to see Dale Jr back behind the wheel of his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.