Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver by a mile, admitted he was anxious and frightened when he first began dealing with a concussion following a crash three weeks ago at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
But the veteran Sprint Cup racer also said he was glad that he took all the precautionary steps that led to his return to the track this weekend in Martinsville, Va.
“Some concussions are really bad, and I don't care how tough you think you are, when your mind is not working the way it is supposed to, it scares the [expletive] out of you,” Earnhardt said. “You are not going to think about race cars. You aren't going to think about trophies. You're not going to think about your job. You're going to be thinking about what do I got to do to get my brain working the way it was before."
Earnhardt was cleared on Tuesday to return to racing by Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurosurgeon and NASCAR consultant.
“I'm glad I did what I did," Earnhardt said. "I'm glad I took the time off and made the choices that I made. I had to do it. I didn't have a choice. I knew something wasn't right."