NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to miss rest of 2016 season

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to miss rest of 2016 season

CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be out for the rest of the 2016 season, according to Hendrick Motorsports.

Earnhardt has "not been medically cleared to compete" as he continues to recover from a concussion.

Earnhardt has missed the last six Sprint Cup races while undergoing treatment. According to Hendrick, he has been regularly evaluated at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program under the direction of Dr. Micky Collins and with Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty.

"I wish I could return to the No. 88 team this season," Earnhardt said. "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. I'm 100 percent focused on my recovery, and I will continue to follow everything the doctors tell me. They're seeing good progress in my test results, and I'm feeling that progress physically. I plan to be healthy and ready to compete at Daytona in February. I'm working toward that."

"The support from both inside and outside the race team has been overwhelming," he continued. "Everyone has been so encouraging and positive, from my teammates and sponsors to my family, friends and fans. It's motivating and humbling at the same time."

Hendrick Motorsports said drivers Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman will drive for the No. 88 team in the season's 12 remaining races.

"I know how hard Dale has worked and how frustrating this is for him," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "He wants to be back, and we want him back, but we want it to be for the long haul. We've had incredible support from everyone involved with the team, including all of our sponsors. They've put Dale's health first every step of the way."

"Jeff and Alex will give us a great opportunity over the rest of the season. Jeff is one of the best of all time and knows our system. He brings things to the table that no one else can," Hendrick continued. "Alex is a young driver with a lot of talent, and he will give us a fresh perspective. We know they're not only capable of running up front and giving us a chance to win, but they'll help us get better."

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