Dale Jr. not yet officially cleared

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 17, 2012
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is expected back on the track next weekend at Martinsville Speedway, but he's not yet been officially cleared to race. Team owner Rick Hendrick said Sunday that NASCAR's most popular driver has been headache-free for more than a week, and that tests by a specialist in Pittsburgh showed no lingering issues from two concussions that Earnhardt sustained in a six-week span. Earnhardt will get back into a car on Monday and, if everything goes well, could be cleared to drive by neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty during a follow-up visit on Tuesday. ''Everything's great,'' Hendrick said before Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway. ''He feels good. He's done everything they told him to do. He didn't have any more headaches after, I guess it was Thursday or Friday of Charlotte week, so everything's good.'' Earnhardt was first injured in a crash during a tire test Aug. 29 at Kansas, but didn't seek treatment for the mild concussion. He was part of a 25-car pileup on Oct. 7 at Talladega and sought treatment from a doctor who ultimately benched him for two races. Earnhardt's doctor had said he would not be cleared to race until he'd gone at least four days headache-free, then went through various tests and spent some time behind the wheel. That wheel time will occur Monday during a closed test that Hendrick said will probably take place at Gresham Motorsports Park in Georgia. ''He's burning up to get in the car. I mean, he wanted to run this weekend,'' Hendrick said. ''He's very anxious. He wants to get back. No way you're going to hold him out unless the doctor wouldn't clear him, but he's good to go.'' Earnhardt, who has one win and 10 top-5s this season, was seventh in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings before the crash at Talladega dropped him to 11th in the standings. Regan Smith has been replacing him in the Hendrick Motorsports ride, but Hendrick said he doesn't plan to have Smith in the bullpen if an issue arises with Earnhardt at Martinsville. ''We don't think there's any reason to,'' Hendrick said. ''I'd be really surprised if we have to, but we could always go to he or A.J. (Allmendinger), one of the two.'' Hendrick said he was concerned there might be a long-term problem when Earnhardt's headaches persisted, which is why he consulted with several specialists. The injury snapped his streak of 461 consecutive starts, the fifth-longest active streak in the Sprint Cup series. ''It was good news when we went down there and the specialist looked at the MRI and there was no damage, no bleeding, no bruising, so that was great news,'' Hendrick said. ''Junior, his head was hurting him bad enough I thought we might have a problem, but we're just really fortunate.''
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

DeMarcus Cousins claims George Karl, not Kings, suspended him

Chris Long to work out for Patriots

Who are the favorites heading into the NCAA Tournament?

2016 NIT bracket has been released

LSU elects not to participate in postseason

Osweiler did not give Broncos chance to match offer


Report: Eric Gordon 'unlikely' to stay with Pelicans

Dak Prescott issues statement following DUI arrest

Harvey backs Harper's view on lack of excitement in MLB

Raiders GM: It's nice to not have to beg free agents

Clippers' Branden Dawson arrested for domestic violence

John Calipari: Tyler Ulis should be national player of the year

The annoying things that bracket players do ...

QUIZ: Every college to have a #1 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament

Which No. 1 seed has the toughest road to the Final Four

NCAA says it is 'looking into' bracket leak

CBS's expanded NCAA Tournament selection show was train wreck

Colin Kaepernick deserves better than he’s getting

Kanye West wants to redesign the Clippers mascot

WATCH: Jason Pierre-Paul bench presses without cast

Olivier Vernon: Sacks are better than sex

Jaromir Jagr is still a workout machine at age 44

Did Tyler Ulis take cheap shot at Texas A&M player?

Titans come to aid of local spelling bee with sponsorship

College hoops stars and their NBA equivalents

Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The annoying things that bracket players do ...

QUIZ: Every college to have a #1 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament

Upsets that could ruin your bracket

Which No. 1 seed has the toughest road to the Final Four

2016 NIT bracket has been released

Who are the favorites heading into the NCAA Tournament?

Potential giant killers in the NCAA Tournament

College hoops stars and their NBA equivalents

Most intriguing matchups of March Madness

Was NCAA tournament bracket leaked?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker