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Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he’ll attend Dover races; provides encouraging health update

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 - Practice

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 05: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, speaks to the media before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 5, 2016 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. won’t be back in the car this weekend, but he’ll return to the track to cheer on his NASCAR teams at Dover International Speedway.

Earnhardt, who is out for the season after being sidelined since mid-July with a concussion, said on his Dale Jr. Download podcast Monday that he will be watching the Xfinity and Sprint Cup races from the pit box Saturday and Sunday. Jeff Gordon will be driving his No. 88 Chevrolet.

“It’s going to be different and tough and maybe not a ton of fun,” he said. “It’s a bit weird to not be in the car but at the track. When you’re a driver, you don’t know what to do with yourself. I’ll try to support the guys and learn a thing or two. Excited to see how Jeff does, he usually runs great at Dover. It’s going to be different. We’ll see how it goes.”

Earnhardt was at Watkins Glen International and Darlington Raceway in August for news conferences about his recovery but didn’t stay for the races.

During the podcast, the Hendrick Motorsports driver also provided an update on his health, which he said is improving. Earnhardt suffered from vision and balance problems since sustaining a concussion in a June crash at Michigan International Speedway.

He said the vision issues mostly had subsided, and his rehabilitation exercises no longer are provoking symptoms that they are designed to cause.

The symptoms mostly come from being in unfamiliar situations that are “busy” with “lots of people talking, movement and stimulation.” Over the weekend, he tried exposing himself to those situations by attending two birthday parties, including the 16th for his niece Karsyn.

“All that stuff is good for me,” he said. “Those environments are good for me.”

Earnhardt also flew to Milwaukee with country music artist Tim Dugger to attend a Sept. 17 concert by Lord Huron.

“That was interesting,” he said. “We were in a field, and I was four people back from the stage, and no one recognized me. We stood there for the whole concert, got lots of visual stimulation. It was a good experience. We’re going to track to get the same exposure.

“It’s getting better.”