Originally written on Sports-Glory  |  Last updated 10/12/14

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JANUARY 15: Dale Earnhardt Jr., speaks with the media during NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway on January 15, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced Thursday that he will not be racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night or at Kansas Speedway next weekend after being diagnosed with a concussion.
Earnhardt said he suffered a concussion on Aug. 29 during a tire test at Kansas that wasn't diagnosed until Wednesday.   
"The wreck at Kansas was really severe and it surprised me how tough it was to get past that. Said Earnhardt.  I remember everything about that accident and everything after that accident, but you know your body and how your mind works, and I knew something was just not quite right. I decided to just try to push through and work through it."
Earhardt kept everything a secret until a 25-car pile up happened on the last lap Sunday at Talladega that left him with a lingering headache.  
"With the Chase coming up, I didn't know how difficult — if I was to volunteer myself to get medical attention and be removed from the car, I didn't know how difficult it would be to get back in," he said. "But I was honest with Steve and told Steve, 'When we get to Atlanta and if I don't feel good, I'm going to be honest with you and tell you that we need to have something as a backup plan for me to get out of the car."
Earnhardt's absence from the races means he will not finish higher than 12th place in the chase for the Sprint Cup and ends his streak of 461 consecutive Cup points race starts.  
"I would love to race this weekend, and I feel perfectly normal and feel like I could compete if I were allowed to compete," Earnhardt said via FOX News. "But I think that the basis of this whole deal is that I've had two concussions in the last (six) weeks, and you can't layer concussions. It gets extremely dangerous."
The fans voted Earnhardt the Most Popular Driver, so how will it impact the sport without him in the race?
“Certainly, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been such a popular figure in this sport for probably as long as he’s been in it,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said via FOX Sports. “He’s carried that very well. The season that he’s having this year, I think, has only accentuated that popularity. We’re going to miss him at the racetrack the next couple of weeks. Our fans will miss him, the sport’s going to miss him, the next couple of weeks. Because of the following that he has and just the ability to engage even the casual sports fans. When you’re talking about NASCAR, he’s one of the drivers that usually comes up when you’re talking to the casual fan, whether it be him or Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart.
“On the flipside, I think our sport has got such great competition, they’ve got so many different personalities, it’s a pretty deep pool of talent that’s in there right now. You’ve got some of the veterans in there like Jeff and Tony, then you have some drivers coming up that are starting to make their name, like Denny Hamlin or Brad Keselowski. I think we’re fortunate to have a deep pool of talent. Certainly he’s a big part of that, his popularity obviously speaks for itself, but he’ll be missed at the racetrack.”
Regan Smith will replace Earnhardt in the No. 88 Chevrolet for the next two races.

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