Auto Racing

Dale Earnhardt Jr. reflects on long concussion recovery

The longer Dale Earnhardt Jr. couldn't drive because of the debilitating effects of a concussion, the more uptight he became.

The stress slowed his brain's healing process, leading to more anxiousness and lingering symptoms. It was a vicious cycle that led his doctors to issue an ultimatum: Drop everything or you won't get better.

Weeks off the grid with his fiancee not only helped him get well physically. He learned valuable lessons he hopes will make him an improved driver and person when he returns to NASCAR next season.

"When I did that I became a better version of myself," Earnhardt said. "I was a much nicer, pleasant person. Caring and...