Dale Earnhardt, Jr. announced today he will not be returning to the No. 88 Chevy SS for the remainder of the 2016 season. Doctors have not cleared Earnhardt Jr. to return to racing and he said it’s in his best interest for both his health and career.
Earnhardt has been sidelined for six races, suffering from concussion-like symptoms. The concussion is believe to have happened at Earnhardt Jr’s June 12 crash at Michigan International Speedway. He continues to be treated for issues related to balance and focusing on objects that are at a distance while moving his head.
“To say I’m disappointed doesn’t begin to describe how I feel, but I know this is the right thing for my long-term health and career,” said Earnhardt.
“I’m 100 percent focused on my recovery, and I will continue to follow everything the doctors tell me.”
After fulfilling a prior commitment last week, Jeff Gordon will again return to the No. 88 for the race this weekend at Darlington Raceway.
Gordon will also drive the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 for the final race before the Chase at Richmond International Raceway. Gordon will return to No 88 at Dover International Speedway on October 2, and Martinsville Speedway on October 30.
Bowman to Round Out Most of Remainder of the Season Season
Beyond this weekend’s Darlington race and the Dover and Martinsville fall races, the remainder of the 2016 will be driven by JR Motorsports part-time driver Alex Bowman back behind the wheel. Those remaining 2016 Cup races include Chicagoland Speedway on September 18, New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 25, Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 8, Kansas Speedway on October 16, Talladega Superspeedway on October 23, Texas Motor Speedway on November 6, Phoenix International Raceway on November 13th and the Sprint Cup series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20.
Bowman has driven the No. 88 substituting for the injured Earnhardt Jr. two times already, finishing 26th and 30 respectively at New Hampshire and Michigan’s first race of the season. His first appearance’s finish was not reflective of the day’s overall performance, where he hovered around the top 10.
Source: ESPN – Dale Earnhardt Jr. to miss rest of Sprint Cup season