CONCORD, N.C. (AP) – Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss the next two races with a
concussion, ending the championship chances of NASCAR’s most popular
driver who turned 38 yesterday, Oct. 10.
Hendrick Motorsports said Thursday that Earnhardt will sit out Charlotte and
Kansas, and Regan Smith (below) will replace him in the No. 88 Chevrolet.
Earnhardt was diagnosed Wednesday in Charlotte, the team said. Earnhardt,
team owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Steve Letarte were scheduled to
discuss his injury Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt was injured in a 25-car last-lap accident Sunday, Oct. 7, at Talladega. Because he was able to drive his car away from the accident — teammate Jimmie Johnson even caught a lift on the window back to the garage — Earnhardt was
not required to go to the care center for an examination at the time.
Immediately after the race, he called restrictor-plate racing "bloodthirsty" and said
he no longer had any desire to compete at Daytona and Talladega.
Sunday’s wreck was at least the second hard hit Earnhardt has had this season. He struck the wall extremely hard during an Aug. 29 Goodyear test at Kansas when his
right front tire failed.