Share This Page

Earnhardt likely to return next week

| Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, 7:44 p.m.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been cleared to drive after missing two races with a concussion. AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is expected back on the track next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

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 Monday and, if everything goes well, could be cleared to drive by neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty during a follow-up visit 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,” he said. “No way you're going to hold him out unless the doctor wouldn't clear him, but he's good to go.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.