Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to miss remainder of 2016 season
CONCORD, N.C. - Hendrick Motorsports announced Friday that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has not been cleared to compete for the remainder of the 2016 NASCAR season as he continues to recover from a concussion.
Earnhardt has been undergoing regular evaluations at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program under the direction of Dr. Micky Collins and Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty.
"I wish I could return to the No. 88 team this season," Earnhardt said. "To say I'm disappointed doesn't begin to describe how I feel, but I know this is the right thing for my long-term health and career. I'm 100 percent focused on my recovery, and I will continue to follow everything the doctors tell me. They're seeing good progress in my test results, and I'm feeling that progress physically. I plan to be healthy and ready to compete at Daytona in February. I'm working toward that."
Will miss seeing @DaleJr on the track for the rest of the year, really not the same when he's sidelined, get completely well JR.— Doug Rice (@Riceman61) September 2, 2016
Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman will continue to drive the No. 88 in the remaining 12 races of 2016. Gordon will fill in for Earnhardt at Darlington, Richmond, Dover, and Martinsville. Bowman will pilot the No. 88 in the remaining eight races of the season.
"I know how hard Dale has worked and how frustrating this is for him," said Rick Hendrick. "He wants to be back, and we want him back, but we want it to be for the long haul. We've had incredible support from everyone involved with the team, including all of our sponsors. They've put Dale's health first every step of the way."
Gordon, who retired from full-time competition following the 2015 season, has
"Jeff and Alex will give us a great opportunity over the reason of the season," Hendrick said. "Jeff is one of the best of all time and knows our system. He brings things to the table that no one else can. Alex is a young driver with a log of talent, and he will give us a fresh perspective. We know they're not only capable of running up front and giving us a chance to win, but they'll help us get better."
Prior to being sidelined by his concussion, Earnhardt had five top fives, six top