March 31, 2017

DALLAS (AP) Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he has felt great all this season after missing the final 18 races a year ago because of the lingering effects of a concussion.

Earnhardt said Thursday that he wouldn't be driving the No. 88 car if he didn't feel like he was 100 percent healthy.

''You can't go out there with any kind of limitations,'' he said while headlining a media and fan event for Texas Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt has suffered numerous concussions in his career, and was sidelined for the final half of last season.

The 42-year-old Earnhardt said he only races cars because it's fun and that he doesn't feel an obligation to stay in NASCAR because of his standing as the sport's most popular driver.

''I just enjoy working with my team and my guys, the camaraderie and the friendships,'' he said. ''That's why I drive. Obviously we've got a big fan base that has a lot of fun when we do well, so you'd like to be out there and run well while you're doing it.''

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More AP auto racing: www.racing.ap.org

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