KANSAS CITY, Kan. – After originally confirming Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would return next weekend at Martinsville Speedway, team owner Rick Hendrick changed his tune during Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway.
Hendrick announced that Earnhardt has two more tests that he has to pass, one on Monday and one on Tuesday, before being cleared to race at Martinsville. As long as he passes both tests, which Hendrick expects him to, Earnhardt will return at Martinsville.
“We are expecting him to be cleared, but until Tuesday we don’t have the final word,” Hendrick said.
Earnhardt has missed the last two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races after suffering a concussion during the last-lap crash at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Oct. 7. Regan Smith has driven the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet during Earnhardt’s absence.
Earnhardt was diagnosed with a concussion on Oct. 10, three days after the Talladega crash. Earnhardt said during a press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway the same week that he believed a testing crash at Kansas Speedway in August also gave him a concussion, but he worked through that injury.