Race Weekend Central

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Out for Next Two Races, Jeff Gordon Remains Behind the Wheel

Hendrick Motorsports announced on Tuesday afternoon that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will not compete in the next two Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen International and Bristol Motor Speedway as he continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms.

He underwent further evaluation on Tuesday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program, and his physicians did not clear him for a return to competition.

“We have a break in the schedule after Watkins Glen, so the extra week of recovery time will certainly be a benefit,” Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, said. “Dale will be back when he’s ready, and we’re looking forward to that happening, but the priority continues to be his health and well-being. We’ll keep our focus on that and let the doctors guide us.”

Jeff Gordon will continue to pilot the No. 88 car in his absence and will climb behind the wheel for the third consecutive race on Sunday. The Cheez-It 355 at the Glen will also mark his 800th career Sprint Cup Series start. The four-time Sprint Cup Series champion has four wins at Watkins Glen and five victories at Bristol. He is also NASCAR’s all-time road course wins leader with nine victories.

In his first two starts in place of Earnhardt, Jr., Gordon finished 13th at Indianapolis and 27th at Pocono. He placed 41st at Watkins Glen last August.

Though he will not be behind the wheel, Earnhardt, Jr. will return to the race track at Watkins Glen to address the media at noon on Friday.

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BIff Baynehouse

Tough one! By no means a Lil E guy & this is pure unqualified speculation, but it would seem that he prolly sustained consecutive concussions. As if it were only Michigan, as he & his MD’s are seeming to speculate, that is 7 weeks & he prolly should have been better by now. So that does not seem to add up at all for me & I seem to think he is publicly minimizing his status.
The Mich wreck I recall, as do I recall many rough impacts this season for him. The one I most vividly recall was at Dega, after CE’s damaged fender cut a tire & pile drove Lil E at full speed. Now that was May 01 (Dega/p40/accident) & June 12 (Mich/p39/accident) = 6 weeks. So, unfortunately, whether it be these two, or a combination of his other impacts, due to the severity & duration of his symptoms, I have to think he got a 2nd concussion prior to a 1st one “healing”. Which is a daunting scenario, since a combination of two or more concussions in a short period of time is know produce very sever long term after-effects, similar to what he is experiencing.
Another suspect is a relatively new hypothesis in medical circles, that high altitude (pressurized) flight after concussions, produce effects similar to what Lil E is experiencing. I guess Lil E is frequently exposed to this also. I don’t know much about how this works, as I only heard briefly about it yesterday for the first time. But it makes Lil E’s scenario that much more daunting, as this would be an additional parameter Lil E most could be suffering from.
Im really afraid to speculate about his future but he is unquestionably an integral facet of the Nascar realm. So I will only say I am glad he is prioritizing his health & I hope he can get back soon.


For some reason Ricky craven’s career comes to mind. How it ended after several hard hits.

Bill B

Well if it is the end at least he had a good run. Regardless of what happens in the short run, I don’t see him being around past 45. Ricky was just getting started when his career came to an abrupt end. Likewise Steve Park.


I wonder if Jeff will drive in the 500 if it means not having to deal with DW?

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