As former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to get used to life outside of the race car, the fan-favorite seems to be opening up like never before. In one particular interview with Graham Bensinger, Earnhardt opens up about the violent crash that changed everything.
“I remember thinking as I was heading toward that fence, ‘This is going to be an insane, insane impact,’” says Earnhardt about a crash that occurred during a testing session at Kansas Speedway in 2012. “And I hit the wall at 190 miles an hour and my head is right against that headrest and it’s as stiff as a roll bar, and so my head didn’t go anywhere and everything inside of it went into high speed movement, and my brain just compacts against the inside of my skull at an incredible force.”
Earnhardt says that it was this crash that seemingly began his health struggles and possibly made him more susceptible to head injuries in the future, ultimately resulting in his retirement from racing at the end of the 2017 season.
“There’s not any situation that I can think of that would result in a harder impact in racing,” Earnhardt says. “And if it doesn’t happen to me, I probably don’t cut my career short. I’m probably still driving race cars today. But that wreck made it easier, I think, for me to get concussions beyond that instance.”