Chevy Racecar Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Miss NASCAR Race Due to Concussion
Team Chevy driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver award for 13 consecutive years, but his fans will not get the chance to see him race at the July 17th event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt Jr. has been involved in multiple crashes this summer, which have reportedly taken a toll on his body. The driver initially thought he was suffering from a sinus infection, but after medication didn’t work, he visited a neurological specialist who advised him to sit out the upcoming NASCAR race because Earnhardt was experiencing concussion-like symptoms.
Alex Bowman will take Dale Jr.’s spot in the No. 88 Chevrolet racecar at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Bowman is a part-time driver in the Xfinity Series where he drives for JR Motorsports, which is owned by Earnhardt.
Before he can return to the Sprint Cup Series, Dale Jr. will have to be given clearance from a neurosurgeon or neurologist who has been approved by NASCAR.
This is the first time that the popular racecar driver has missed an event since 2012. Dale Jr. also suffered a concussion that year, which caused him to sit out two races.
In his 18-year career, Earnhardt Jr. has won 26 races in NASCAR’s premier series, but he still hasn’t won a race in 2016. It’s expected that NASCAR will grant him an injury exemption if he does return this year so he’ll still be eligible for the NASCAR playoffs. Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart have also been given similar exemptions in the past.
Earnhardt Jr. made the following statement regarding his health:
“I 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. 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.”