Dale Earnhardt Jr. Provides Update on Back Injury Following Plane Crash

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2019

Professional race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. participates in the BUILD Speaker Series to discuss his book
Evan Agostini/Associated Press

Former NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. provided an update on his health Wednesday following his involvement in a plane crash last week.Β 

Earnhardt said that although his back is bruised and swollen, he still plans to race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Darlington Raceway on Aug. 31:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. @DaleJr

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 been treating the area every day solely to get well to race. I have a plan B but hope not to use it. https://t.co/O1J7jZU4kR

While Earnhardt retired as a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series at the conclusion of the 2017 season, he competed in one Xfinity race last year, and Darlington is his only scheduled Xfinity race in 2019.

Earnhardt, his wife Amy and theirΒ 15-month-old daughter Isla avoided serious injury when their plane crash-landed and ran off the runway in Tennessee last week en route to Bristol Motor Speedway.

The 44-year-old Earnhardt tweeted the following statement this week, marking the first time he had spoken publicly since the crash:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. @DaleJr


Although Earnhardt is retired as a full-time active driver, he is still heavily involved in the sport. In addition to his plan to compete in the Xfinity Series this weekend, Earnhardt owns an Xfinity team called JR Motorsports, and he is also a NASCAR analyst for NBC.

During his NASCAR career, the son of the late legendary driver Dale Earnhardt won 26 times in the Cup Series and 24 times in the Xfinity Series.Β Earnhardt Jr.'s best finish in the Cup Series point standings was third in 2003, and he twice won point titles in the Xfinity Series.

Additionally, Earnhardt was named NASCAR's most popular driver for 15 consecutive years from 2003-2017.

When Earnhardt raced for JR Motorsports at Richmond last season, he qualified second, led 96 laps and finished fourth.

Health permitting, Earnhardt will look to improve upon that performance when he takes part in this year's Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington.