NASCAR Talladega 2013: Dale Earnhardt Jr. regrets ‘bloodthirsty’ comments made at Talladega last fall

Patrick Smith

The last time NASCAR raced at Talladega, Dale Earnhardt Jr. left the track with a concussion and was critical of the style of racing. He now regrets those remarks and admits he "overreacted."

Last fall at Talladega Superspeedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was running in the top 10 on the white flag lap and while he likely wasn't going to win, a solid finish seemed certain.

But as the field charged through Turns 3 and 4, race-leader Tony Stewart triggered an accident that consumed 25 cars including Earnhardt's Chevrolet.

Afterward, Earnhardt had some pointed words about restrictor-plate racing, saying he would "find another job" if he had to do this form of racing on a weekly basis.

He also said that fans who enjoyed seeing big wrecks at Talladega were "bloodthirsty."

Seven months later, as the Sprint Cup Series returns to Talladega, Earnhardt said Friday he "regretted" his comments and "overreacted."

His remarks, he said, were out of frustration from a good day quickly gone bad, and because he had just sustained a second concussion in three months -- his first one came at Kansas Speedway in August when he hit the wall while testing.

It was an injury which, as was revealed a few days later, would force him out of the car for two races.

"To get out of the car and feel concussed and feel like ‘oh shoot man, now I've got to go through the process again,' " Earnhardt said, "and you're not supposed to have them (concussions) close together and all this stuff so you just have all kinds of worry running through your mind.

"It had me really, really angry and not myself, obviously. So, I've regretted that. I've regretted making those comments and I think I overreacted and overstated my feelings quite a bit. It's frustrating when you run around and we spend all day running 495 miles and then crash in the last five (miles)."

Last October aside, Earnhardt doesn't view racing at Talladega negatively. Restrictor-plate racing has always been something he's excelled at and he views Sunday's Aaron's 499 as a prime opportunity to claim his first victory of the season.

"I don't think about Talladega when I come here for a race such as this weekend, in a bad way," Earnhardt said. "I think about it as a place where I've done well. I think about it as a place where we need to win and we can win. I know what I need to do to win at places like this and we can make it a good weekend.

"So, if I do everything I need to do, then I won't have to worry about being swept up in the last lap crashes and we can go into Victory Lane and celebrate. That's what I think about when I preparing to come here."

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