Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Team owner Rick Hendrick revealed on Sunday
at Kansas Speedway that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to his driving duties
in the No. 88 Chevrolet next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
Earnhardt Jr., who is NASCAR's most popular driver, has missed the last two
Sprint Cup Series races -- Charlotte and Kansas -- after suffering two
concussions within a six-week period. The Hendrick Motorsports driver
sustained his first concussion during a crash while participating in the Aug.
29 Goodyear tire test at the newly-repaved Kansas track. Two weeks ago,
Earnhardt Jr. was involved in a 25-car crash on the final lap at Talladega
Complaining of headaches following his Talladega crash, Earnhardt Jr. was
examined by Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurosurgeon, in Charlotte two days after
Talladega. He underwent several tests, including an MRI, and therefore was
diagnosed with a concussion. Earnhardt Jr. was advised to sit out at least the
next two races.
Last Tuesday, Earnhardt Jr. was examined by specialists at the University of
Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he underwent extensive tests.
Earnhardt Jr. is one of the 12 drivers in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup
"Dale came through with flying colors, and everything is great," Hendrick said
during ESPN's broadcast of the Sprint Cup race at Kansas. "He can't wait to
get back in the car, and he's really anxious. We're anxious to get him back,
so next week, he's been cleared to race at Martinsville."
Regan Smith has substituted for Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 car at both
Charlotte and Kansas.
The Sports Network