Dale Earnhardt Jr. eager to 'race more' but not putting timetable on his return

— -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he plans to race again. When that will happen, he doesn't know.

On his weekly "The Dale Jr. Download" podcast Monday, Earnhardt gave no timetable for his return as he continues to battle balance problems that doctors have told him are from a concussion suffered June 12 at Michigan International Speedway.

Earnhardt said his main issue is gaze stability -- the ability to focus on an object while he moves his head. He will meet with five specialists on Tuesday, and he plans to see doctors every few weeks.

While he doesn't know when he will return, the 41-year-old Earnhardt vowed he will do everything possible to return -- as long as his doctors will let him.

"I'd love to race more," Earnhardt said on his "Dirty Mo Radio" internet network. "In my mind, my plan is to race more. I have plans to keep going. I'll worry about that when I'm well.

"I'll talk to my doctors and say, 'What do I have left as far as the racing?' My doctors are confident that they can make me stronger than I was before this event."

Earnhardt has missed three races since the July 9 event at Kentucky Speedway because of the balance and nausea issues. He said the symptoms have plateaued recently.

"You go to bed at night hoping that when you wake up the next morning, you're going to be able to tell the difference," he said. "That drives you absolutely crazy because you wake up the next day and don't feel anything.

"You wake up, you open your eyes, you sit up, you walk to bathroom and you know immediately that nothing is different, nothing is better, nothing is worse."

Hendrick Motorsports has not announced who would drive in place of Earnhardt this weekend at Watkins Glen, but Jeff Gordon, who has driven the No. 88 Chevrolet the past two events, said Friday he would race as long as needed.

Earnhardt, who missed two races in 2012 because of two concussions within six weeks, said Lyme disease and other possible causes have been ruled out and that doctors believe the hit at Michigan -- where he slapped the wall with the passenger's side of the car -- resulted in a concussion even though he didn't feel the symptoms until about four weeks later.

Earnhardt also had his car knocked side to side a little July 2 at Daytona, but he was able to continue in that race. The symptoms came on gradually following that event, and Earnhardt at first thought it was an inner-ear infection.

"I've never had a concussion that came on weeks after the event," Earnhardt said. "Most of them, you feel it immediately and then they sort of get better over time. ... This has been the opposite.

"This is scary for me because of the way it's been different in I'm having balance issues. I never had balance issues before. The eye issues with the stability, I never had it before."

Because he hasn't dealt with these issues before, Earnhardt can't figure out how long it will take him to recover.

"I don't know what [my situation] tells me about how long this process is going to be," Earnhardt said. "I felt like I had a good understanding of dealing with concussions in the past, but this certainly is a new one."

Being treated by doctors from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program, Earnhardt said his doctors want him in situations in which his mind is stimulated. So he is going to restaurants, the race shops, and the grocery store -- places that often often give him anxiety, and those symptoms ramp up for 15 to 20 minutes, he said. If he starts feeling nauseous to the point of sickness, he has to get out of the situation.

"When I sit on the couch, I feel really good," Earnhardt said. "But when I leave that environment and go somewhere -- especially somewhere unfamiliar ... that drives the symptoms pretty heavily.

"But after an hour or two of being in those environments, your brain calms down and sort of regroups and gets hold of the situation."

Earnhardt has 26 victories in 595 career starts. He was in position to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup this year before he had to step out of the car.

Earnhardt, who is engaged to Amy Reimann and expects to get married in the offseason, said he is keeping his priorities in order.

"For people that do have kids, you can look at those kids and it registers right away what's most important," Earnhardt said. "But for someone like me or a young race car driver that's not in that situation, the only thing that matters is racing.

"It's hard to put your priorities in order. ... That's how I was 10-15 years ago but, man, after a few episodes and having some pretty serious symptoms in a couple of those episodes, it's a wake-up call."