Dale Earnhardt Jr. is set to compete this Saturday and he’s honoring his late father.
The race car driver, 44, went on the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show “Beyond Racing,” co-hosted by his sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Danielle Trotta, to talk about his injuries after being involved in a plane crash with his wife and young daughter.
“I had some bad bruising on my back, but I went and got some excellent advice and care and treatment for that, and I’ve been doing a lot at home to bring the swelling down and get rid of a lot of the blood,” he said. “It was just really swollen and bad, but all that’s actually gotten better very quickly. So I think I’m going to be OK.”
Earnhardt Jr, his wife Amy and their young daughter Isla Rose were in a fiery plane crash in Tennessee on Aug. 15. An Elizabethton Fire Department official told PEOPLE that Amy, 37, and Dale were transported to the hospital out of an abundance of caution and without serious injuries.
Earnhardt will be racing for the first time since the Xfinity Series race at Richmond last September.
“I’m looking forward to it. I think maybe getting in the race car and driving and going through all of that experience – the practice and qualifying – will be great for my mental processing and all that. I think that’s the hurdle that’s going to be the toughest, just getting past it mentally, getting my confidence back up to get back in an airplane and all those things,” he continued.
To honor his father, Earnhardt will be driving the No. 8 Chevrolet, with the car painted similarly to the vehicle his late father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., drove when he won his first Cup Series in 1975.
🚨 @DaleJr THROWBACK ALERT 🚨— Darlington Raceway (@TooToughToTame) April 28, 2019
Celebrate Dale Earnhardt Jr’s return to Darlington for the #SportClips200 with this throwback offer!
Included with the offer:
- A ticket to see ALL of the #ThrowbackWeekend action
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After his accident, Dale Jr. shared a statement to both Instagram and Twitter on Aug. 19, saying that he was feeling grateful for everyone’s support and well wishes.
“Amy and I want to thank everyone who has lifted us up with phone calls, messages and prayer since last Thursday. We are truly blessed that all on board escaped with no serious injuries, including our daughter, our two pilots and our dog Gus,” he said in the statement.
“With respect to the investigation, we will not be speculating or discussing the cause of the accident,” he continued. “I am thankful for the quick response of my pilots, local law enforcement, emergency personnel and hospital staff.”