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Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s wife says Clash 'not worth the risk' to his health

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona a few weeks ago, amid the euphoria he said he wanted to compete in the 2018 preseason Clash next February at the track.

Earnhardt, who is retiring from full-time NASCAR Cup racing after this season, still wants to run it, but he admits not everyone in his household is on board with the idea. A casual mention Tuesday that his wife, Amy, wasn't in favor of him competing in the exhibition race quickly went viral, with Amy responding that "it's not worth the risk" for him to compete at Daytona.

It all started with an appearance Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to promote his paint scheme for the September race at Darlington during which Earnhardt stressed he had no plans for any one-off races in Cup next year. When he met with the media later, he was asked whether that included the Clash.

"Amy doesn't want me to run it," he said.

Earnhardt, who missed the last 18 races of 2016 with a concussion and credits Amy for motivating him and counseling him through his recovery, didn't compete in the 2017 race. He said in February that even though he was a past winner, he didn't feel as if he had earned his spot in the event, which drivers primarily qualify for by winning a pole.

"I've got a pole now and I kind of want to run it," he said Tuesday. "But we'll see if she warms up to the idea."

Once that hit social media, the responses ranged from those critical of Amy's having a role in the decision, to pleas to her to allow her husband to run the race, to messages of support. Races at Daytona, where the cars run in packs, are known in part for their brutal crashes.

Amy responded via Twitter: