NASCAR's most popular driver didn't mince words when asked Friday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International about his reaction when he first heard Tony Stewart got hurt racing at a dirt track on Monday and would be out for a while.
Here was Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s answer:
“I was just real sick to my stomach about it. I woke up for some reason at five o’clock in the morning, which is rare and I just couldn’t sleep so I grabbed my iPad and that was the first thing that I saw and I just couldn’t believe it. I felt like I must have been dreaming. Tony (Stewart) is one of my competitors and you really aren’t supposed to have, you really aren’t supposed to have the kind of admiration I guess that I have for Tony as he is my competitor. You want to go out there and beat him on the race track and he’s fun to race with, he’s a hard racer and he takes it as good as he can get it. A lot of guys can’t take it very well. You all know what kind of guy he is so I won’t go on and on about it, but I hated it for him just knowing what being out of the car is like and knowing how much he loves what he does and loves how much he enjoys driving no matter what it is," Earnhardt said.
"I know he feels bad, you know. He hates to put his company and team in this situation and he personally is a bit upset and saddened. Just knowing the kind of guy he is, I hate that he has to go through that and I know they’ll be a lot of pain and rehab and things like that he will have to face and that’s unfortunate and you hate to see people have to deal with that. He’s tough though, he’s really, really tough and everybody knows that he’s just going to beat the hell out of this and get back in the car before you know it. He’ll probably be back in the car before the doctors want to let him in. I don’t anticipate this really slowing him down at all.”