Sprint Cup scouting report
Charlotte Motor Speedway
What/when/where/TV: Bank of America 500, 7:30 tonight, Concord, N.C.; Ch. 28
The big news heading into this one is that NASCAR's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., will miss this and at least one more race because of two concussions sustained in the past six weeks. Tonight's event will be the first in NASCAR's top series without an Earnhardt since 1979. Earnhardt sustained a concussion in a testing crash in late August, then another Sunday during the multicar wreck that ended the race at Talladega. His withdrawal ends his chances in the Chase for the Championship, where he was aiming for his first title. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon, who barely got into the Chase and fell far behind after not finishing the opener at Chicagoland, was second at Talladega and got back into reasonable contention. He is sixth, 42 points out. Two other Hendrick drivers to watch: Kasey Kahne has quietly risen to fourth; he won the 600-mile race in May at Charlotte. Jimmie Johnson, second in points, is tied with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for career victories at Charlotte with six.