Dale Earnhardt Jr. Will Miss The Final 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Races Of 2016by Hunter Thomas September 2, 2016 0 comments
Hendrick Motorsports announced on Friday morning that Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS will miss the final 12 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Earnhardt Jr. is in the process of recovering from concussion-like symptoms. The crash that he was involved in at Michigan International Speedway back in June is believed to be the possible starting point of Earnhardt Jr.’s symptoms. The North Carolinian has missed the past six races, dating all the way back to July.
“I wish I could return to the No. 88 team this season,” Earnhardt Jr. said in a press release. “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.”
During the New Hampshire 301 weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July, Earnhardt Jr. stepped aside and let Alex Bowman pilot his race car. Jeff Gordon took over the driver’s seat that following weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon also competed in the No. 88 Chevrolet SS at Pocono Raceway, Watkins Glen International and Bristol Motor Speedway. Bowman drove the car this past weekend at Michigan International Speedway. The two drivers will pilot Earnhardt Jr.’s car for the remainder of the season.
“Jeff and Alex will give us a great opportunity over the rest of the season,” Hendrick Motorsports team owner, Rick Hendrick said in the team’s press release. “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 lot 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.”
Hendrick Motorsports released the driver lineup of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS on Friday morning. Below is the schedule that the team announced:
September 10 | Richmond International Raceway | Jeff Gordon
September 18 | Chicagoland Speedway | Alex Bowman
September 25 | New Hampshire Motor Speedway | Alex Bowman
October 2 | Dover International Speedway | Jeff Gordon
October 8 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Alex Bowman
October 16 | Kansas Speedway | Alex Bowman
October 23 | Talladega Superspeedway | Alex Bowman
October 30 | Martinsville Speedway | Jeff Gordon
November 6 | Texas Motor Speedway | Alex Bowman
November 13 | Phoenix International Raceway | Alex Bowman
November 20 | Homestead-Miami Speedway | Alex Bowman
This weekend at Darlington Raceway, Jeff Gordon will drive the Buddy Baker inspired throwback-schemed car in the Bojangles’ Southern 500. Gordon is a seven-time winner at the track, Too Tough To Tame.
Earnhardt Jr. is currently being treated by Dr. Micky Collins at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program, as well as neurosurgeon, Dr. Jerry Petty, who’s based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Although Earnhardt Jr. won’t compete in another NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event this season, the focus is now set on getting healed for Daytona in February of 2017.
“I know how hard Dale has worked and how frustrating this is for him,” Hendrick said. “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.”
Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images