Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s last race at Talladega was filled with fanfare and farewells, but the six-time Talladega winner admitted he had one major concern heading into the race.
Earnhardt has a history of concussions, and that’s a big reason why he is retiring at age 43. He told NBC Sports that he was worried about getting another concussion since Talladega usually has so many wrecks, and there were several on Sunday. Earnhardt was one of only a handful of drivers to finish the race, so he was able to avoid another concussion.
“This was one I was worried about, in the back of my mind I was a little concerned,’” Earnhardt said. “You can’t win the race if you race scared. I’ve raced scared here before and you don’t do well when that happens, so you have to block it out and take the risks and hope it’s not your day to get in one of those accidents and it wasn’t.”
Earnhardt said he and his team did take risks, and it resulted in a seventh place finish for him in his final race at Talladega.
Brad Keselowski eventually won the race, but it was a strong showing from Earnhardt in front of a multitude of his fans in the crowd. While he didn’t get the victory, it’s far more important long term for him that he didn’t sustain another concussion.
Earnhardt has five more races remaining in his full-time Cup Series career, and his next race is Sunday at Kansas Speedway.
(h/t NBC Sports)