Sunday, June 17, 2018
Sports

Gordon to sub for Junior

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not race again this month because of concussion-like symptoms and the No. 88 car will be turned over to trusted former teammate Jeff Gordon for the next two weeks.

Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday that Earnhardt has not yet been cleared to drive by doctors and will miss Sunday's Brickyard 400 as well as next weekend's race at Pocono. NASCAR's most popular driver has been battling balance issues and nausea since a July 2 crash at Daytona.

Earnhardt pulled himself out of the car last weekend in New Hampshire and was replaced by Alex Bowman. After another medical evaluation Tuesday in Pittsburgh, doctors told Earnhardt to take more time off.

"Our focus is giving Dale all the time he needs to recover," team owner Rick Hendrick said. "There's nothing we want more than to see him back in the race car, but we'll continue to listen to the doctors and follow their lead."

While retirement talk for the 41-year-old Earnhardt might be premature, his history of concussions is clearly a concern. He had two in a six-week span in 2012 and missed two races. The latest symptoms surfaced after a June crash at Michigan International Speedway and the wreck at Daytona. Earnhardt said he felt steadily worse, believing it was allergies at first. A neurological specialist later confirmed Earnhardt had sustained a head injury.

A team spokeswoman said Earnhardt will not take questions this week or next and that Gordon is not expected to speak until Friday.

Gordon, 44, has not competed since retiring after the 2015 season finale. Brickyard organizers had billed last year's race as Gordon's "last ride" on his home track.

"Jeff's a team player," Hendrick said. "I know he'll be ready, and I know Dale has incredible trust in him."

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