NASCAR Dale Earnhardt Jr. miss BoA 500 Talladega concussion - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on concussion: I knew something was just not quite right

Posted: Updated:
Hendrick Motorsports says Earnhardt will miss NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway. (Photo: HendrickMotorsports.com) Hendrick Motorsports says Earnhardt will miss NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway. (Photo: HendrickMotorsports.com)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be missing two races after an injury.

In a press release issued on Thursday, Hendrick Motorsports says Earnhardt will miss NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.

This is due to being diagnosed with a concussion following the 25-car pileup on the last lap of Sunday's race in Talladega. Because he was able to drive his car away from the accident, Earnhardt was not required to go to the care center for an examination at the time.

The concussion diagnosis was made Wednesday afternoon in Charlotte. 

Earnhardt admitted on Thursday that injury came on top of a previously unreported concussion he received Aug. 29 during a tire test at Kansas.

"[After Kansas] I knew something was just not quite right but I decided to push through it; I've had a concussion before, and I knew kind of what was dealing with," Earnhardt said.

"I felt pretty good for a week or two, at least 80 or 90 percent. By the time I got to Talladega I was 100 percent. It was an odd kind of hit; the car spun around real quick and it disoriented me. I knew as soon as it happened that I had reinjured myself, for lack of a better way to describe it. I knew I had kind of regressed. It was not even half of the impact I had at Kansas, but it was enough to cause me some concern."

Earnhardt said that although he knew he had "reinjured" himself last Sunday at Talladega, he waited a few days before getting checked out to see if the symptoms would clear.

When his headaches persisted, Earnhardt said he first called his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and then Dr. Jerry Petty – a neurosurgeon who serves on the International Council on Motorsports and acts as neurosurgeon for the Carolina Panthers.

Dr. Petty said he first performed an impact test and then an MRI on Earnhardt, and both tests came back normal, indicating there was no permanent damage. However, based on the recent concussion at Kansas and the persistence of headaches, Dr. Petty said he couldn't in good conscience clear Earnhardt to race this weekend.

"I'm really going to feel pretty odd not being in the car, I'm anxious, real anxious just to get back in the car and get back to, I think you learn not to take things for granted and I just hate that this has caused such a fuss," Earnhardt said on Thursday.

The injury ends NASCAR's most popular driver's championship chances this season. By sitting out the next two races, he'll most certainly finish last in the 12-driver Chase race.

"I admire [Earnhardt]. I think a lot of guys would try to play hurt," team owner Rick Hendrick said. "But when the doctor tells you if you get hit again right away, it could be catastrophic ... We've got a lot of years left to race. I always want to be on the side of safety. I applaud Dale for raising his hand and going in to get checked out."

Dr. Petty said Earnhardt would need four to five days without headaches and perhaps an on-track test before being cleared to drive.

"I would love to race this weekend, and I feel perfectly normal and feel like I could compete if I were allowed to," Earnhardt said. "But the basis of this whole deal is I've had two concussions in the last four to five weeks, and you can't layer concussions. It's very dangerous.

Dr. Petty said Earnhardt would need four to five days without headaches and perhaps an on-track test before being cleared to drive.

I would love to race this weekend, and I feel perfectly normal and feel like I could compete if I were allowed to," Earnhardt said. "But the basis of this whole deal is I've had two concussions in the last four to five weeks, and you can't layer concussions. It's very dangerous.

Regan Smith will be the team's substitute driver in the No. 88 car during the races at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and in Kansas.

That move will give embattled race car driver AJ Allmendinger his first race back on the track since he was suspended for drug violations in July.

Phoenix Racing called Allmendinger on Thursday and asked him to report immediately to Charlotte Motor Speedway to drive the No. 51 Chevrolet. That was the car Smith was slated to drive before Earnhardt's injury.

Allmendinger was suspended after failing a random test for turned out to be Adderall, a prescription drug typically used to treat attention deficit disorder.

He was reinstated by NASCAR last month and is looking for a job for 2013 after being dropped by Penske Racing three months ago.

Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow