Concussions put Earnhardt Jr on sidelines
Dale Earnhardt Jr’s run of consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup starts will end at 461 after the Hendrick driver was ruled out of the next two races due to concussion.
Earnhardt has been advised not to compete at Charotte or Kansas by an independent doctor after the driver suffered two concussions in five weeks thanks to crashes at Kansas (in testing) and Talladega (last weekend).
The news comes at a time when concussions and their long-term consequences are a major talking point in the USA’s National Football League.
In a press conference announcing his decision to miss two races, Earnhardt admitted that he had not sought out a medical check-up following the 40G Kansas shunt, but became concerned after receiving the second, albeit much smaller, impact at Tallageda.
“I’ve been through tons of last lap wrecks at Daytona and Talladega, and that one shook me up, and I just thought maybe I should take this seriously,” he said.
Earnhardt had been particularly damning of the current style of restrictor plate racing that led to last weekend’s accident.
“It’s not safe,” he said post-race in response to media that suggested fans enjoyed the pack action. “Wrecking like that is ridiculous. It’s blood-thirsty if that is what people want. It’s ridiculous.”
Earnhardt will be replaced in the next two races by former Furniture Row Racing pilot Regan Smith.