The day Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost his steering wheel — and kept going

It’s tough enough to drive at Talladega in the NASCAR Premier Series even when all of the equipment on your car is intact.

But last spring, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to attempt to navigate the 2.66-mile superspeedway after the steering wheel came off in his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet during the GEICO 500, forcing him to drive without it.

“Well, I wasn’t going to let it hit the wall, so I grabbed the column and steered it with that,” Earnhardt told FOX Sports after the race.

Earnhardt Jr. eventually got his steering wheel back in place, but later was knocked out of the race after an unrelated crash.

“Hell, I’m done,” Earnhardt told his crew over the team radio after the second wreck. “I’m going home.”

On his way home, Earnhardt summed up the day pretty succinctly when he announced on Twitter, “Some days you’re the bug.”

And, you know, other days you’re the windshield. It was a “bug” kind of year for Earnhardt, who ended up missing the second half of the season with a concussion.

He is hoping for much better things in 2017, and already has been medically cleared to return behind the wheel of the No. 88 for the season-0pening Daytona 500, which you can see live on FOX next Feb. 26.

And on this trip to a superspeedway restrictor-plate track, Earnhardt no doubt hopes to keep the steering wheel intact throughout the race.