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Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not cleared to race at Martinsville yet

Photo Credit NASCAR Media

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been sitting out the last two weeks NASCAR races, recovering from a concussion he received in testing at Kansas Speedway and aggravated in a crash at Talladega Super Speedway.  During the prerace broadcast Rick Hendrick, the owner of Hendrick Motorsports, Dale Jr.’s team was asked if he would race at Martinsville Speedway this weekend.  Rick said he was set to go. Apparently he is not set yet but is expected to race.

I want to apologize to all you guys (the media). I gave you a little bad information out on pit road today. I’ve been out here at the dealerships and I did talk to the doctor (Dr. Jerry Petty, neurosurgeon) with Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and he said everything looked good and everything was fine.” Rick Hendrick said “However, I didn’t know until (HMS PR director) Jesse (Essex) informed me that I had gotten ahead of myself and that there is a closed test Monday that Dr. Petty will attend. Dale will be back in the car (for that test) and he’ll make the decision with a final test on Tuesday. So, we don’t foresee any problems but I didn’t read my emails this morning and I kind of got ahead of myself. I talked to the doctor myself and everything went good in Pittsburg (PA, tested Tuesday Oct. 16th)) and Dr. Petty felt real good about it. And I did know that they were going to shake down a car, but I didn’t know that the doctor was going, and that he would actually be evaluating him Tuesday (two separate tests/evaluations). I apologize for that. The test (next) Tuesday is in his (Dr. Petty’s) office. The test Monday is in the (race) car.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will see the doctor both in the office and while driving a race car.  If everything goes well and the doctor is satisfied, Dale will be cleared to race at Martinsville Speedway.  If it doesn’t go well, Dale will be sitting out another race and continuing his recovery.

Either way, Hendrick is very positive that Dale will be back.

Rick said, “I will be shocked if he’s not in the car. Everything looks good. His attitude and the way he feels; he’s had no headaches since Thursday or Friday of Charlotte; and the tests have gone real well. I think Dr. Petty is just being super-cautious and I applaud him for that. I think the sequence is that he (Dr. Petty) will be with him at the test Monday; they will evaluate him in his office Tuesday, and then he will notify NASCAR if he’s okay. Maybe I just heard what I wanted to hear when I talked to (Dr.) Petty because everything in Pittsburg was good.

We all wish Dale would get well soon and get back to the speedway.  It is not good for the most popular driver in NASCAR to be missing from the track.

Brian Berg Jr. is the Lead NASCAR writer for

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary. On Facebook at NASCAR News and Commentary

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