Quote from Earnhardt: “I can understand people’s opinions that they would try to push through it, or they would ignore it to stay in the car, because I did the same thing in the past. Some concussions are kind of light, and the symptoms are real like. If you don’t have another incident, you feel like you can get through it.
“Some concussions are really bad. And I don’t care how tough you think you are, if your mind is not working the way it’s supposed to, it scares the [bleep] out of you. You are not going to think about race cars. You aren’t going to think about trophies. You are not going to think about your job. You’re going to be thinking about what do I got to do to get my brain working the way it was before. That’s going to jump right to the top of the priority list, I promise you.”
Earnhardt answered questions for a little more than 20 minutes and was very candid about his experience the past two weeks. He said the concussion “scared the [bleep] out of him” and he’s glad that he took the time off he did to get rid of the symptoms.
He compared the sensation of a concussion to a computer that has too many background programs running — thoughts get hung up, programs quit in midstream. Said the first 48 hours he was told by doctors to do nothing, and that’s what he did and it drove him crazy. Said a visit to specialists in Pittsburgh was the turning point. They explained the process to him and put him through some exercises that had him feeling better by the end of that day.
I know some accuse Earnhardt of coasting on his name, but to me his comments did a pretty good job of hammering home his passion for this sport.
Interesting note from Johnson, who said at 8 years old he started a bike race with a cast on his leg just so he could run one lap and get the points he needed to win the championship. Obviously not apples-to-apples with Earnhardt, who isn’t in contention, but speaks to the competitive nature that runs through those who race.
Johnson also said that Martinsville is “about as good as you can get” if coming back from injury. Said a place like Bristol or a road course would be the worst.
Packed media center here — standing room only. People might not be watching this sport as much as they used to, but it sure is getting covered.
Jimmie Johnson will answer questions at 10:50 a.m., followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
No regular briefing today. Early interviews at Martinsville Speedway. I’ll post some highlights as we go.