NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. breaks huge news about his plans to race in 2017 AP Photo/Mel Evans
FILe - In this Aug. 5, 2016, file photo, Dale Earnhardt Jr. listens to a question about his concussion while addressing the media at Watkins Glen International racetrack in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Earnhardt will miss the rest of the NASCAR season as he continues to recover from a concussion. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

For NASCAR fans, the winter months can be downright depressing. No races to look forward to and no drivers to root for can mean quite a few boring Sunday afternoons on our couches with nothing to watch.

Little did NASCAR fans know that they would get the biggest news of the year on a chilly morning in the beginning of December.

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NASCAR prayers were answered on Dec. 8, when NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. made the announcement we have all been hoping to hear, proclaiming that he would officially be back in his race car for the start of the 2017 season and the Daytona 500 on Feb. 26. NASCAR fans will recall that Dale Jr. missed a good portion of the 2016 season as he recovered from a concussion.

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“I feel great, and I’m excited to officially be back,” Dale told “I expected things to go really well yesterday, and that’s exactly what happened. Actually getting in a race car was an important final step, and it gives me a ton of confidence going into 2017. Thanks to the staff at Darlington for hosting our team and to NASCAR for giving us the opportunity to put a car on the track. I’ll do more testing in January to help knock the rust off. When it’s time to go to Daytona, I’ll be ready.”

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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