Dale Jr. Expected ‘Growing Pains” Upon His Return To The Track

Photo by Nigel Kinrade/NKP

By Jerry Jordan, Editor

FONTANA, Calif. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. expected there’d be “some growing pains” after being sidelined most of last season from the effects of a concussion but following Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway, he said, he isn’t unhappy with where things are in 2017 and he is looking forward to this week’s event at Auto Club Speedway.

“I like the racetrack at Fontana, there’s a lot of different grooves you can run and it’s a lot of fun, so I am looking forward to going,” Earnhardt Jr. told Kickin’ the Tires. “I figured when we come back from being out of the car so long, we would have some growing pains. We are seeing some speed in the car and the potential that we have as a team but it is going to take us a little bit, I think to get back to it. We qualified great this weekend and ran okay in the race at times. It will come, we just have to keep showing up every weekend.”

The Dale Earnhardt Jr. of the past might be down on himself and even his team after what some said was an “okay” run at Phoenix but things have changed. Earnhardt Jr. said he is focused on the bigger picture and he learned “a lot” from being out of the car.

“I learned quite a bit being out of the car,” he said. “You can’t really let this stuff rub you wrong. I mean we would certainly like to finish better but it don’t do you any good to get upset about it. And some guys had worse days than we did but it is certainly easier to keep things in perspective after what we went through last year.”

Asked if he is having fun behind the wheel of the car, Earnhardt Jr. responded, “Oh yeah, I am having more fun now that I know what I know.”

One of the things he has figured out is that getting in shape and living a healthier lifestyle can help him on the track. He has been working out on a daily basis – thanks to the help of a trainer – and he has been eating healthier thanks to his wife, Amy. Earnhardt Jr. said given the heat was such a factor at Phoenix, he believes the workouts paid off.

“I feel awesome right now, I think it has helped a lot,” he said, after climbing from the car. “We have been working really hard for two months and I feel a lot better than I think I would have today.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *