Friday, October 26, 2012

Earnhardt Jr. Second Fastest in First Martinsville Practice

Sporting News

Junior has run at Martinville over past four starts (Getty)
MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. missed only two races because of a concussion, but he felt like he was out for much longer.

When he got back into his car on Friday, it felt and appeared like he hadn’t missed a beat.

Earnhardt returned to action Friday at Martinsville Speedway and was second in the first Sprint Cup practice session at the half-mile track.

Martinsville is a good track for Earnhardt, who has seven top-10 finishes in his last nine starts there, including second and third in his last three races on the .526-mile oval.

“I feel like I’ve been out of a car for a year,” Earnhardt said prior to practice. “It doesn’t feel like a couple of weeks. (But) I feel like we can go right to (it). … I like this racetrack and I feel like we can run good here.

“I want to do a good job over the next four weeks (to finish the season). I want to run hard and I want us to go into every weekend trying to do what we’ve done all year long.”

Earnhardt suffered concussions in crashes on Aug. 29 and Oct. 7. He missed the races at Charlotte and Kansas while Regan Smith replaced him in his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports car. Smith blew an engine at Charlotte and finished seventh at Kansas.

“I’m just excited to be back to work, get back in the car and get back to normal—get back to the life that I’m used to,” Earnhardt said. “I haven’t been able to do my job, so I’m glad to be doing this (this weekend).”

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