Friday, September 02, 2016

Earnhardt Pulls The Plug On 2016 Season

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s 2016 season is officially over.

Hendrick Motorsports announced today that after being sidelined by concussion symptoms since July 17 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Earnhardt will not return before the end of the season.

“I wish I could return to the No. 88 team this season,” said Earnhardt in a team release today. “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.

Earnhardt -- who is being treated by Dr. Micky Collins of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program, as well as Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty – said today that his doctors are “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.”

Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman will continue to share the driving duties in the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet in his absence Earnhardt’s car, with Gordon driving in this weekend’s Bojangle’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He will also compete at Richmond, Dover and Martinsville. Bowman will be behind the wheel in eight races, at Chicagoland, New Hampshire, Charlotte, Kansas, Talladega, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami Speedways.

Team owner Rick Hendrick said he supports the decision, adding, “I know how hard Dale has worked and how frustrating this is for him. 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. 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.”


  1. Looks like Gordon took all of the fun tracks.

  2. Anonymous1:03 PM

    I think Dale Jr made the right decision

  3. Jr is making the right choice, I wish more professional athletes chose long term health and quality of life over a career that most people will need remember.

  4. Anonymous2:16 PM

    I'm going to be the devil's advocate. What if the health issue isn't concussive related? NASCAR is going to lose maybe 30% of the viewership and attendance with Jr. out. Maybe it's just something more we aren't privy to.

    Either way, I wish him the best, NASCAR and the fans need him, and I look forward to him returning next year.

    1. Nice Black Helicopter! What motivation would Jr have to mislead us?

    2. Anonymous5:24 AM

      Maybe it isn't Junior's decision? Either way, when fed a line, take it with a grain of salt.

    3. Dwayne in Memphis8:23 AM

      The answer is obvious, Dave. Since NASCAR is losing "30% of the viewership and attendance with Jr. out," he's obviously proving how valuable he is so that instead of simply being paid by his Hendrick contract...he wants 30% of the box office take and the TV money. Obviously. Well, it's obvious so long as you're wearing your aluminum foil hat.