Hendrick Motorsports announced Friday that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not race for the remainder of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as he continues to recover from a concussion.
Earnhardt’s crew chief Greg Ives joined Tradin’ Paint on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to discuss the difficult decision, as well as whether or not he thought Dale Jr. will ever race again.
“It’s really hard to know,” Ives said. “There’s nothing I can conclude, to say, either way.”
SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Mike Bagley and Nate Ryan reacted to the news just moments after it broke.
“I’m not surprised,” Ryan said. “Maybe his greatest concern, maybe the team’s greatest concern, maybe his doctor’s greatest concern was the fact that this occurred after what should have been a relatively minor impact – and that is a red flag, a warning sign.”
Earnhardt has not raced since the Quaker State 400 in Kentucky on July 9. He has missed the last six Sprint Cup series races while receiving treatment at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program.
There are 12 races left in the series.
“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,” Earnhardt said in a statement. “I’m 100 percent focused on my recovery, and I will continue to follow everything the doctors tell me.”
The No. 88 driver said in early August that he was having problems with balance and gaze stabilization. In his latest statement, Earnhardt did say he was slowly but surely feeling better.
“I’m feeling that progress physically,” Earnhardt said. “I plan to be healthy and ready to compete at Daytona in February. I’m working toward that.”
Legendary racer Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman will continue to serve as Earnhardt’s replacement for the rest of the season.
Listen to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) for all of the latest on this developing story. Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Sarah Stierch