Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 10/11/12

LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 03: NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week NMPA Myers Brothers Awards at the Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino on December 3, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. led to sweeping changes that made NASCAR a safer sport through mandatory neck restraints, impact-absorbing SAFER barriers at tracks and a redesigned stock car. More than 11 years after the elder Earnhardt was killed at Daytona International Speedway, his son may help make the sport even safer by the mere fact he decided to take himself out of his car. Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced Thursday that he would forgo the next two races due to concussion-like symptoms, effectively ending the hunt for his first Sprint Cup title. "I think you saw a driver who is racing for a championship, who is our most popular driver, gets up here, asks (to) go see a doctor and gets out of a car," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice president of racing operations. "That takes a lot of guts. I think it also shows where our sport has come and they know that safety is first and foremost." NASCAR does not have the same concussion standards as the National Football League...
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