Dale Earnhardt Jr Sits Out at New Hampshire With Concussion-Like Symptoms
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss the Sprint Cup race this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway because of concussion-like symptoms. He will be replaced by Alex Bowman, the team announced Thursday afternoon.
"I wasn't feeling great the week going into Kentucky [Speedway] and thought it was possibly severe allergies," Earnhardt said in a statement. "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."
Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said he was proud of Dale "for standing up."
"The No. 1 priority is his health, so we're going to give him all the time he needs," Hendrick added. "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 [crew chief] Greg Ives and the team, and we know they'll do a great job."
Earnhardt is possibly the most knowledgeable of all Sprint Cup drivers on concussions, and he has pledged to donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in partnership with Boston University. His knowledge comes from his experiences in 2012.
In order to return to NASCAR, Earnhardt would need to be cleared by a NASCAR-approved neurologist or neurosurgeon who has treated sports-related head injuries for at least five years. Hendrick Motorsports has not determined whether Bowman would continue driving in place of Earnhardt if Earnhardt has to miss races beyond this weekend.