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Dale Earnhardt Jr. sorry for throwing wife 'under the bus' about choice to not run in Clash

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. admitted he probably shouldn't have said his wife, Amy, didn't want him to run the preseason Clash at Daytona next year, and those who blame her for the decision probably don't understand the difficulty for him to come back from his concussion.

Earnhardt said Tuesday that he didn't expect to run the race since his wife didn't want him to compete in it. After a firestorm of criticism on social media - to Amy for making that decision and to Earnhardt for continuing to race now if he is concerned about his health because a driver can be injured at any track - Amy put out a statement on Twitter saying the Clash wasn't worth the risk.

"I put her in that position," Earnhardt said Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "It's probably my fault for throwing her under the bus like that.

"She's been there for everything and a lot of folks that may have a different opinion about it weren't there through the whole process. And if anyone knows how difficult it was besides me, it would be her. It wasn't a lot of fun for her."

The exhibition race at Daytona is typical of restrictor-plate events where cars run in packs. Considering there are no points involved, drivers can be prone to take even bigger risks.

Earnhardt didn't participate in the 2017 Clash after missing the final 18 races of the 2016 season with a concussion. He had not won a pole during the previous season, and Earnhardt said at the time that he felt he hadn't earned a spot (he was eligible as a past Clash winner).

"The Clash has a real high crash rate," Earnhardt said. "There's real big potential to either finish the race or wreck. We've internally complained about that for years - why do we even run that race because we always tearing up all four [Hendrick Motorsports] cars? It's a bit of a joke that we have [in the shop]."

After he won the pole at Daytona last month, Earnhardt talked about wanting to do the Clash. But that talk appears to have ended.

"It sounds like a great idea right off the bat, but maybe it's not worth it," Earnhardt said Saturday. "I feel much more in control of my own fate in the remainder of this season and anything I do beyond that than I do being out there in the Clash, to be honest with you, even though it's a pretty cool race to be in.

"If you just look at my history, it's been feast or famine. You either run really good or you end up tearing it up, so it's probably not even worth it. If it's something that she feels strongly about, we have to sit down and I have to hear her out."