Hendrick Motorsports announced on Tuesday afternoon that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will not compete in the next two Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen International and Bristol Motor Speedway as he continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms.
He underwent further evaluation on Tuesday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program, and his physicians did not clear him for a return to competition.
“We have a break in the schedule after Watkins Glen, so the extra week of recovery time will certainly be a benefit,” Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, said. “Dale will be back when he’s ready, and we’re looking forward to that happening, but the priority continues to be his health and well-being. We’ll keep our focus on that and let the doctors guide us.”
Jeff Gordon will continue to pilot the No. 88 car in his absence and will climb behind the wheel for the third consecutive race on Sunday. The Cheez-It 355 at the Glen will also mark his 800th career Sprint Cup Series start. The four-time Sprint Cup Series champion has four wins at Watkins Glen and five victories at Bristol. He is also NASCAR’s all-time road course wins leader with nine victories.
In his first two starts in place of Earnhardt, Jr., Gordon finished 13th at Indianapolis and 27th at Pocono. He placed 41st at Watkins Glen last August.
Though he will not be behind the wheel, Earnhardt, Jr. will return to the race track at Watkins Glen to address the media at noon on Friday.
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