Dale Earnhardt Jr. has dropped out of the Sprint Cup race Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway because of symptoms of a concussion. Earnhardt was evaluated in Charlotte, North Carolina, this week and doctors did not clear him to race. Hendrick Motorsports said Thursday it had no timetable for his return. NASCAR's most popular driver, Earnhardt was involved in a 22-car wreck in Daytona this month and also wrecked last month at Michigan International Speedway. He says he was feeling fine last week and thought the problem was allergies.
The world is no longer a blur to Dale Earnhardt Jr. despite the demands of a job that call for driving nearly 200 miles an hour occasionally. There were times over the last year he only saw darkness, a wobbly self of the man he once was, of everything that defined his existence. All he had to do was look at the family pictures. The Earnhardts race for a living … health and happiness and death be damned. Racing killed his daddy, bringing with it an emotional tsunami that no one should ever have to bear.
Danica Patrick estimates she's had at least a dozen concussions during her racing career. The popular NASCAR driver said Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway if a doctor told her another one would put her at serious risk, she would leave the sport without hesitation. "If there was someone that told me or, I would hope any other driver, if you have another wreck, you could have a serious problem, then they would [choose to] be out," Patrick said during the Daytona 500 media day. "I would be out because I love what I do, but I love lots of other things and I also love life. I'm too young to have it be over."
The announcement came Wednesday, July 20, 2016, from Hendrick Motorsports, which said Earnhardt has not been cleared by doctors to drive. Jeff Gordon is coming out of retirement to fill in for his old Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., in the No. 88 car. Earnhardt is recovering from concussion-like symptoms in the wake of big crashes at Michigan and Daytona this year. He also sat out last weekend's race in New Hampshire while a member of his JR Motorsports Xfinity Series team, Alex Bowman, took his place, finishing 26th. Indiana native Gordon will drive in the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis this weekend, and the Pennsylvania 400 on July 31st.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is calling his decision to donate his brain to science a "no-brainer." He said Friday he plans to pledge his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation. The group works with Boston University on research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative disease that doctors believe is caused by repeated blows to the head. Earnhardt says he was motivated by reading about three former Oakland Raiders who donated their brains in honor of teammate Ken Stabler. The quarterback's brain showed signs of CTE.