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Earnhardt, Jr. feels fine after accident at Daytona

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Dale Earnhardt Jr. climbed out of his wrecked race car, surveyed the damage, chatted with his team and hopped on a golf cart for a trip to the infield care center.

Eight minutes after checking in with doctors, Earnhardt walked out.

And he felt fine.

Earnhardt crashed out near the midway point of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, hitting the wall after Kyle Busch lost control and turned sideways in front of him. Earnhardt's team was unable to repair all the damage to his #88 Chevrolet, forcing him to make an early exit in NASCAR's signature race. He finished 37th in the 40-car field.

"I feel good," Earnhardt said. "I don't have any symptoms or anything I've experienced in the past. It wasn't that hard of a hit, but it still doesn't mean you can't get injured."

He was looking to make a triumphant return at Daytona , the track where his famous father died, but ended up driving to the garage and parking it for the day.

Considering it was his first race in months, he acknowledged earlier in the week that walking away from a hard hit unscathed would "add a ton of confidence" and check a box in his recovery.

"I knew I was at risk, just like I was before the last injury," Earnhardt said. "You're always at risk. It's dangerous. You can't race with fear. You can't go out there and worry about getting hurt. You have to kind of say, 'All right, man, if I'm going to get in there, I've got to be willing to accept anything - good or bad - result-wise.' I am willing to put myself out there, and I want to compete."

(Associated Press)