“Concussion-like symptoms” will be keeping Dale Earnhardt Jr. off the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
This alarming little Twitter announcement by Hendricks Motorsports at 5:30pm confirmed that all was not well in the Earnhardt camp.
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) July 14, 2016
It went on to say that Earnhardt Jr. would be replaced by Alex Bowman in the No. 88 Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet for this Sunday’s New Hampshire 301. Earnhardt himself confirmed that all this was true in a decidedly woebegone public statement.
“I’m disappointed about missing New Hampshire this weekend. I’m looking forward to treatment with the goal of getting back in the race car when the doctors say I’m ready.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Certainly not news that bodes well for a man who has suffered an unending series of disappointments this season. Earnhardt’s chances for making the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs have been rather dismal, as he’s barely fulfilling the criteria. Rules dictate that you have to win at least one race and/or be in the top 16 points to qualify for Chase and things aren’t looking good for our man, who is 13th in the points standings without a single win to his name this season. To keep from being booted out of consideration, he can hardly afford to miss even one race.
But we promise it’s not all doom and gloom. NASCAR is no stranger to ailing drivers and is likely to grant him some sort of injury waiver as it did for Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart. Both these drivers went on to win races too, proving that debilitating injury isn’t the end of the world for anyone.
Most importantly, Dale Earnhardt Jr. should be concentrating on getting better. Hendricks Motorsports has publicly thrown in its vote of confidence and its support for his decision to prioritize his health, like any decent, savvy employer should do.
“I’m proud of Dale for standing up. The number one priority is his health, so we’re going to give him all the time he needs. We completely support the decision by the doctors and will be ready to go win races when he’s 100 percent. In the meantime, we have full confidence in (crew chief) Greg (Ives) and the team, so we know they’ll do a great job.”
Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendricks Motorsports