Earnhardt cleared to race again after concussion
CONCORD, N.C. | NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr., who missed the final 18 races of last season because of a concussion, has been medically cleared to return next year.
Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday that Earnhardt will take part in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 26.
Dr. Micky Collins, medical director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program in Pittsburgh, in consultation with Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty, cleared the 42-year-old driver Wednesday following a test session at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. Petty attended the session.
Earnhardt completed 185 laps during a nearly five-hour session at Darlington under the guidance of his Hendrick Motorsports crew chief, Greg Ives. In addition to the on-track test, which was observed by NASCAR, the driver has logged more than 15 hours in a racing simulator during his recovery.
Earnhardt said he would do more testing in January “to help knock the rust off” ahead of the season-opening race he has won twice.