Dale Earnhardt Jr. was on pace to make the Chase with top-15 finishes in .722 percent of the first 18 starts in 2016.
Following a test session Wednesday afternoon at Darlington Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been medically cleared to resume NASCAR competition after making a full recovery from a concussion.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss the remainder of the 2016 season with Alex Bowman and Jeff Gordon to substitute for the remaining 12 races, according to NBC Sports’ Dustin Long. Gordon will race four more times including this week’s Bojangles' Southern 500; Bowman will take over for the remainder of the season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup races, at least. Alex Bowman will substitute at Michigan International Speedway. Jeff Gordon will climb back behind the wheel at Darlington Raceway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has now missed four races in 2016, which has dropped him to 21st in the standings. With a 169-point advantage over 31st in the standings, he will probably not fall out of the top 30 in points if he returns during the regular season but he needs a victory in order to be championship eligible.
In a televised press conference before the Cheez-it 355 at the Glen, Dale Earnhardt Jr. told reporters that he remains unclear on when he will return to the track. A final evaluation will not be made until he is symptom-free and according to his doctors that is impossible to predict.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss at least the next two races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series due to a concussion and will be replaced behind the wheel by Jeff Gordon, according to reports at NBC Sports.
During his weekly podcast earlier this week, Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave his fans an update on his health. "This process is going to take a little bit longer," he said—strongly suggesting he will not return to the cockpit next week. No announcement has been made about his replacement.
Hendrick Motorsports made their official announcement Wednesday morning. Jeff Gordon will replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. for at least the next two races beginning with the Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard. Earnhardt has not been cleared by physicians to compete.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss the New Hampshire 301 because of concussion-like symptoms, according to reports at NBC Sports. Earnhardt has been experiencing symptoms since taking hard hits at Michigan International Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. He was feeling badly before last week’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, but thought he was suffering from severe allergies. It is unknown how long he will be out of contention.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scored only one top-10 finish in his last 10 flat track starts, but it was a strong run. He finished second in the Axalta 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. notably failed to advance to the final round of qualification for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. His lap of 191.071 mph was good enough for only 16th on the grid.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fastest in final practice for the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, but he knew several drivers had faster cars than they showed. As it turned out, 12 cars were faster. Junior qualified 13th with a lap of 95.329 mph.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted the fastest single lap in the final practice session for the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. His best lap was set at 95.298 mph.