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Family happy Dale Jr. back on track
No one was as thrilled to be back in a race car as Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Friday.
However, following Earnhardt Jr.’s recent bout with concussions, it’s understandable that those closest to him were quite concerned.
Certainly Kelley Earnhardt-Miller was relieved when her brother was cleared. Given the siblings' relationship, she couldn’t hold back her elation upon Earnhardt’s return.
“I’m really glad,” Earnhardt-Miller said. “Obviously, that’s what we wanted him to be able to do – get back in as soon as possible. He has been stir crazy. He was really anxious this week to get in the car and get it behind him after they practiced on Monday (at Gresham Motorsports Park) and everything went well there.
“He really got back to work this week because he had a production day and some other things to do for (his Nationwide Series team sponsor) TaxSlayer. He’s just anxious to get back to the track.”
For Earnhardt-Miller, who manages her brother’s affairs and is a co-owner at JR Motorsports, this latest set-back was difficult. But considering the hardship the family has endured, Earnhardt-Miller has developed tremendous coping skills.
“Other than losing our dad, that was probably the next toughest thing,” Earnhardt-Miller said. “You just have to listen to what the doctors say that, ‘you can’t do this.’ Really, Dale felt relatively normal. It wasn’t like he was way out of bounds where physically he didn’t slur his words or talk funny.
“That was the hard part – knowing that you didn’t want to take that next hit that would put you done.”
Earnhardt-Miller lives with family up the hill from Junior on his compound north of Mooresville, N.C. Although she “spent a lot of time” with her brother the first week, Earnhardt-Miller opted to offer Junior a little quiet time during his last weekend off.
“This past weekend, we were busy with the kids and it gets crazy so we didn’t get down there and spend as much time as we were. He’s just not used to that much action.”
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