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[Newsa] Auto Racing|Jeff Gordon Could Return as Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Replacement

C Realtime
3 years ago|17 views
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS July 15, 2016 LOUDON, N.H. — The four-time Nascar champion Jeff Gordon could come out of retirement next weekend and drive the No. 88 Chevrolet if Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not cleared to race. Earnhardt will sit out this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway because he showed symptoms of a concussion. Alex Bowman will drive in his place. Doug Duchardt, general manager of Hendrick Motorsports said Friday that Gordon had agreed to return and drive next week if he was needed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon won the last of his record five Brickyard 400 victories in 2014. Gordon has not raced since last season’s finale at Homestead, Fla., wrapping up a career that included 93 career Cup victories and series championships in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001. He has called Nascar races for Fox Sports television. Gordon posted on Twitter that he was in France this weekend, which ruled him out for a potential return at New Hampshire. Duchardt said a decision was likely to be made on Wednesday. He did not say whether Gordon would continue to drive in the 88 should Earnhardt not be cleared beyond the Brickyard. “It’s about making sure that he gets better and supporting him and his decision,” Duchardt said. “It takes a lot to come out and address some of the health concerns that he had. It’s not about what are we going to do when he does come back.” Earnhardt was evaluated in Charlotte, N.C., this week, and doctors did not clear him to race. Nascar’s most popular driver, Earnhardt was involved in a 22-car wreck in Daytona this month and a wreck last month at Michigan International Speedway. There is no timetable for his return. Earnhardt also missed two races in 2012 when it was determined he had sustained two concussions in six weeks. Duchardt said Earnhardt had told the team last weekend at Kentucky that he was not feeling well and then on Tuesday that he was feeling worse. Earnhardt said the team needed to at least consider a backup driver for New Hampshire. Earnhardt then visited a team of neurologists and underwent concussion testing. “My understanding was, Dale was told that he shouldn’t race,” Duchardt said. “He knew he wasn’t feeling well and had concerns about being in the car and running the whole race. To get healed, he needed to be out of the car.” Duchardt declined to speculate on how long Earnhardt could be out of action. Nascar mandated in 2013 that drivers submit a baseline neurocognitive assessment. When a driver in Nascar cannot return his damaged car to the garage, a trip to the care center is required, and a driver showing any indication of a head injury must go immediately to a hospital. Concussed drivers must be cleared by an independent neurologist or neurosurgeon before they can get back in a racecar. Earnhardt had already pledged his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation. The group works with Boston University on research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., a degenerative disease that doctors believe is caused by repeated blows to the head. Earnhardt, 41, is winless this season and is at 13th in the points standings. We're interested in your feedback on this page. Tell us what you think. Related Coverage As Chances Dwindle, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Confidence Doesn’t Jun 4, 2016 With Nothing Left to Prove, Jeff Gordon Will Walk Away While He Can May 23, 2015 Carl Haas, Builder of a Formidable IndyCar Racing Team, Dies at 87 Jul 9, 2016 At 79, Richard Petty, a Bastion of Nascar, Sticks to What He Knows Jul 2, 2016

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