|Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images|
Cleared to race this weekend after two weeks off, Earnhardt Jr. ran 125 laps earlier in the week at Gresham Motorsports Park. Crew chief Steve Letarte reported via Twitter that the lap times were good and things went well.
Struggling to voice his emotions of the past two weeks, the driver of the No. 88 said, “When your mind’s not working the way it’s supposed to, it scares the shit out of you.” He went on to say that when you know something is wrong the last thing you think about is your job or anything else – you just want your brain to be normal.
Earnhardt Jr. praised his relief driver Regan Smith, who piloted his car at Charlotte and Kansas with a moment's notice, saying that the team didn't miss a beat and Smith did a great job.
Earnhardt Jr. also made note that he will be wearing a new helmet this weekend, a decision which has been in the works for a while. The helmet is manufactured by Stilo and is one he tried a few years ago but at the time the modifications he wanted were not available.