There was a welcome sight in the Dover International Speedway garage Saturday morning, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. arrived at the Monster Mile to join his Hendrick Motorsports team.

Looking relaxed and happy in a hooded sweatshirt and hat, Earnhardt hung out by his No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet prior to the first practice. This weekend, Jeff Gordon is subbing for Earnhardt, who continues to recover from a concussion suffered earlier this year at Michigan International Speedway.

At Dover, Earnhardt smiled as he posed for photos with fans and signed autographs for about 10 minutes before the first of Saturday's two practices began at the Monster Mile.

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Earnhardt will not race again this year as he recovers, but his presence at the track shows that he's continuing to make progress. It thrilled the fans that got photos and autographs from their favorite driver, too.

And Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet appears in good hands. In the opening moments of practice, Gordon put it on top of the speed charts.