In a shock to the NASCAR world, Hendrick Motorsports announced on Thursday that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would miss Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after suffering from concussion-like symptoms in the recent weeks.
In a team release, Earnhardt noted that he not been feeling well leading into last weekend’s race at Kentucky and after visiting his physicians and being evaluated, he was not cleared to race.
Earnhardt missed a handful of races back in 2012 after being diagnosed with a concussion following hard crashes at a Kansas tire test and Talladega and has been one of the drivers on the forefront of concussion awareness in recent years.
“I wasn’t feeling great the week going into Kentucky (Speedway) and thought it was possibly severe allergies,” Earnhardt said. “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. 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. 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.”
Earnhardt’s team owner, Rick Hendrick, commented on Earnhardt missing New Hampshire, 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.”
With Earnhardt out of his No. 88 car this weekend, Alex Bowman, who drives part-time for Earnhardt’s NASCAR Xfinity Series team, JR Motorsports, has been tapped in the relief effort. The team stated that there is no timetable for Earnhardt’s return to the seat and they will provide an update with more information next week.