Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not compete in this weekend’s Sprint Cup race in New Hampshire due to symptoms of a concussion.
The driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was evaluated this week in Charlotte and physicians declared him unclear to take part in the New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt released a statement saying he “wasn’t feeling great the week going into Kentucky (Speedway) and thought it was possibly severe allergies. I saw a family doctor and was given medication for allergies and a sinus infection. When that didn’t help, I decided to dig a little deeper.”
This is the second time that concussion symptoms have sidelined Earnhardt. He sat out two races late in the 2012 season following being caught in the last lap “Big One” in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. After experiencing severe headaches, he went to see a physician and was diagnosed with a concussion. This was compounded by another concussion he sustained in a wreck at Kansas Speedway during a test a few weeks prior.
“Because of my symptoms and my history with concussions, and after my recent wrecks at Michigan and Daytona, I reached out and met with a neurological specialist,” he added. “After further evaluation, they felt it was best for me to sit out.”
“I’m disappointed about missing New Hampshire this weekend. I’m looking forward to treatment with the goal of getting back in the race car when the doctors say I’m ready.”
Team owner, Rick Hendrick, voiced his support of the decision, saying, “I’m proud of Dale for standing up. The number-one priority is his health, so we’re going to give him all the time he needs. We completely support the decision by the doctors and will be ready to go win races when he’s 100 percent. In the meantime, we have full confidence in Greg (Ives) and the team, and we know they’ll do a great job.”
Alex Bowman will drive in his place this weekend. No timetable for his return was announced and the organization will give an update next week prior to the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.