NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will test car Monday to see if Martinsville return possible

Chris Graythen

Prior to today's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway, Rick Hendrick said that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was cleared to race at Martinsville next weekend after missing two weeks because of a concussion. A few hours later, Hendrick retracted those comments.

"I gave you a little bad information out on pit road today," said Hendrick. "I did talk to the doctor with Dale and he said everything looked good, everything was fine. However, I didn't know until [Hendrick Motorsports manager of communication] Jesse [Essex] informed me that I had gotten ahead of myself, that there's a closed test Monday that Dr. Petty will attend and Dale will be back in a car."

Dr. Petty's final decision on whether Earnhardt can return to his No. 88 Chevrolet in NASCAR Sprint Cup action will come this Tuesday after Earnhardt then is examined by Dr. Petty.

"We don't foresee any problems, but I didn't read my emails this morning and I kind of got ahead of myself," Hendrick said. "I talked to the doctor myself and everything went good ... and Dr. Petty felt real good about it."

Said NASCAR spokesperson Kristi King: "NASCAR has not cleared Dale Earnhardt Jr. for competition yet, as we have not received medical clearance from his treating physician, Dr. Jerry Petty. Per NASCAR protocol, a driver who has suffered a concussion must be seen by a board certified neurologist or neurosurgeon that has a minimum of five years experience in treating sports-related head injuries."

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