Dale Earnhardt Jr will miss the next two races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule following a last lap crash at Talladgea.
Speaking at a press conference Earnhardt Jr talked about his accident at Kansas where he blew a right front tire during a testing session. Earnhardt said he felt something was not right but “felt pretty good after a week or two” and described himself as 80 or 90 percent and by the start of Talladega he felt 100%.
Earnhardt described the accident at Talladega as “odd” and knew he “digressed” and had “re-injured himself” with impact that was half of what he felt at Kansas.
Earnahrdt Jr spoke to his sister, Kelley, and they opted to see a neurosurgeon. The doctor who Earnhardt saw did not feel that the driver should race this coming weekend at Charlotte.
Regan Smith will take over the seat of the No. 88 while A.J. Allmendinger assumes the seat of the No. 51 car that Smith was to drive. Smith is being considered for a Nationwide Series seat at JR Motorsports.
Following Kansas, Earnhardt wondered how medical attention would have affected his chase efforts and told crew chief Steve Letarte that he needed to make a decision by Atlanta. By then Earnhardt felt able to continue driving.
Earnhardt did not see medical attention immediately following the race but says he saw the doctor on Tuesday.
Dr. Petty, the doctor Earnhardt saw, said that an Impact and MRI test were performed. The MRI was “normal and very encouraging… we want him to have four or five days of rest without a headache… have him drive a lap or two and then clear him to race.”
Team owner Rick Hendrick said that he always feels that safety is important.
When asked Earnhardt could not count the number of concussions he has had. He said most of them were fine after 48 hours. Earnahrdt went on to say that sometimes you don’t even know you had a concussion.
Rick Hendrick said that the light shed on concussions by the NFL is a good thing. He described the tests for Earnhardt as “preventative maintenance” and praised the safety equipment in todays cars. “The good news is the cars are so safe, the medical field is so advanced. If we do what they tell us we shouldn’t have any trouble.”
Earnhardt will not be at this weekends race at Charlotte citing himself being a distraction. Crew chief said the change to Smith should not cause much of a problem other then a seat change.