Rick Hendrick: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be back at Martinsville

Chris Graythen

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been cleared to race and will return to action in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next weekend at Martinsville, team owner Rick Hendrick confirmed before Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

"He's been cleared to race at Martinsville, so we're excited to get him back," Hendrick said during an interview on pit road after driver introductions.

"He came through with flying colors. Everything is great," Hendrick stated. "He can't wait to get back in the car. He's really anxious -- and we're anxious to get him back. So, next week he's been cleared to race Martinsville. So we're excited, excited to get him back.

"Dale is a good friend. He means so much to the sport. He means so much to our company. And I care about him. But he's the sparkplug for this sport and our organization too. It just shows you how fragile things are and how you can get hurt in these cars. As much as we do to make them safe, things can happen."

Earnhardt has been out of action since suffering a concussion in a 25-car last-lap crash Oct. 7 at Talladega, his second concussion in fewer than six weeks. Suffering from headaches, Earnhardt sought medical attention Oct. 9 and was sidelined from the No. 88 Chevrolet for two races by neurologist Dr. Jerry Petty.

"The doctors, we've done everything they've said and he's checked out. Everything is 100 percent clear and ready to go, so we're just really happy," Hendick commented. "I hated for him to miss these two races as good as the season is going. But the good news is he's ok. He's good. He's excited. He feels great - no headaches. He's a racer and he wants to get back in the car."

Regan Smith substituted for Earnhardt in Cup race at Charlotte and Kansas.

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