Dale Earnhardt Jr. Still Plans to Race Again at Darlington and Honor His Late Father
"I have a plan B but hope not to use it."
Just one week after Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family were involved in a terrifying plane crash, the NASCAR superstar is telling fans he still plans to get behind the wheel again for the Xfinity series race at Darlington Speedway over Labor Day weekend. Responding to a tweet asking about his already scheduled plans to return to racing for a one-off race at the South Carolina race track, Earnhardt addressed, for the first time, the minor injuries he incurred from the plane crash.
"Yes. I plan on driving still. My lower back is bruised up real bad. Lots of swelling and I just need that to go down and the pain to chill out. I have a plan B but hope not to use it." Earnhardt said in a tweet.
The beloved NASCAR driver retired in 2017 and has seamlessly stepped off the track and into the broadcast booth for NBC Sports. He calls races and analyzes his friends and former rivals. But Earnhardt still owns a race team which allows him to get back into the car every now and again. He was planning to do just that for the Xfinity series race at Darlington next weekend. For the last five years, Darlington Raceway has hosted the "Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR" where drivers and their cars adopt paint schemes paying homage to iconic drivers from days gone by. This year, Earnhardt is set to run in car donning the paint scheme from the Hellmann's #8 Chevrolet Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove in his first premier start at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1975. The elder Earnhardt finished 22nd in that race but it was the start of one of the greatest racing careers in the history of the sport.
When asked what plan B is, Earnhardt answers that it would be to have another driver take his place in the car. While we hope this won't be the case, he already has some volunteers, including fellow retired driver, Elliot Sadler.
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It is nothing short of miraculous that Earnhardt, wife Amy, daughter Isla, dog Gus, and two pilots were all able to walk away from that crash, and while we would love to watch NASCAR's most popular driver climb back behind the wheel, we wish a full recovery to the entire family.