- Did you mean:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. injury timeline
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway and Darlington Raceway as he continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms. Dale Jr. had previously missed races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , Indianapolis Motor Speedway , Pocono Raceway , Watkins Glen International and Bristol Motor Speedway . Alex Bowman (New Hampshire and Michigan) and four-time champion Jeff Gordon (Indianapolis, Pocono, Watkins Glen, Bristol and Darlington) are filling in for him in the No. 88 Chevrolet. Stay up-to-date on Dale Jr.'s injury and recovery through the timeline of events below.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. in his own words
RELATED: Junior 'not ready to quit' racing Dale Earnhardt Jr . met with members of the media Friday at Watkins Glen International to discuss his health, a potential timeline of his return to racing and many other topics. Here's what he said: ON BEING BACK AT THE TRACK: "It is great to be back and seeing everybody. I'm super nervous coming back. I miss my team and my teammates. Amy (Reimann, fiancée) is gone on a trip for the weekend, so I was at the house by myself and was just looking for some things to do. Figured coming to the track wasn't a bad idea. I get to hang out with my guys a little bit. It just felt so weird not being there, so here we are." IS IT POSSIBLE YOUR DOCTORS WON'T BE ABLE TO GIVE YOU CLEAR DIRECTIVES SO THAT YOU WILL HAVE A BIG DECISION TO MAKE ON YOUR OWN FOR YOUR LONG-TERM HEALTH? "I think my doctors have a good understanding of my history and what I have been through and with their own personal knowledge that they have throughout their careers to give me a clear understanding of when I will be ready to go back and get into a race car. Our intentions are to get cleared and get back to racing. We are just taking it one evaluation at a time. It is frustrating to have to do it that way, but that is the process, and we hope and expect that when we go back for the next evaluation that we are symptom free and can start to see a timeline develop. Until then, we are just taking it one evaluation at a time. Those are typically every two to three to four weeks." YOUR FANS WANT TO KNOW IF THIS HAS BEEN TOUGH EMOTIONALLY ON YOU BECAUSE YOU HAVE SEEMED SO STRONG THROUGH THIS: "I just want to get better. You put everything ... nothing else is really a priority except for just getting the symptoms to clear up and get back to feeling like yourself. That is all that I am thinking about. The process isn't as fast as you would like it to be. I talk to my doctor every other day, sometimes for an hour or two about the psychological side of it because it can become very frustrating and obviously being a race car driver, we don't have a lot of patience to begin with. This is a challenge. But we've got some great doctors, and I really believe and trust what they are telling me. I am confident and positive that they tell me without question that we are going to get back to normal." SINCE THIS PROCESS FIRST STARTED, HAVE YOU PERSONALLY CONSIDERED WHETHER YOU SHOULD CONSIDER RACING, OR HAVE THAT DISCUSSION BETWEEN YOU AND AMY, OR EVEN WITH JUST YOURSELF? "No. My doctor thinks that to get through the therapy and to get through the symptoms you don't need to be adding stress to your life. The stress will slow down the process. So, going into those kinds of conversations aren't even necessary at this particular point. The point right now is just to get healthy. Just to get right. I'm not thinking about the what-ifs. I'm just listening to my doctors. ... My doctors feel great about the opportunity that I will not only be healthy again, but they can actually make my brain stronger to be able to withstand these common events. The event that I had at Michigan which they have tied this concussion to, I shouldn't have had a concussion from. I should be able to get through events like that without having any issues. So, they are not only working to get me healed up, but are working to make it to where I can compete and go through events like that without any concern." ON GETTING CORRECT INFORMATION ABOUT HIS CONDITION TO EVERYONE: "I think the podcast was just a great outlet for us to give updates. People are wondering; people are curious so that was a great avenue for us. It is effective. I don't mind being honest about what is going on and I think that is maybe helped some people to when they are going through the same situation. The one thing I worry the most about and I think I said on the podcast is that I don't like people to make assumptions on where I am at and how I am doing and what I am up to." IS IT YOUR EXPECTATION TO BE BACK IN THE CAR AS SOON AS YOU ARE SYMPTOM FREE? "I don't know what the doctor would choose there. Whether you could go symptom free and go immediately back in the car. Or if they would maybe want you to be symptom free for a week or two weeks. I don't know what he will do. We haven't really talked about that. I personally would like to get in a race car and drive it at a closed course somewhere. Whether that is one of my late models, or if NASCAR would lift the restrictions on the testing policy to go to Gresham or someplace I want to get in the car and run for a day. I think I should do that." CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW FRUSTRATING THE ANXIETY-SIDE OF THIS HAS BEEN? ALSO, HOW HAS THE SUPPORT OF YOUR FANS HELPED YOU? "I'd love to speak on the support. It's been awesome. All the NASCAR fans are supportive of all the drivers when they find themselves in situations that are challenging. It's been no different. That's helped me a lot and gave me a lot of motivation to get back and get back in the car. Even hearing from not only the fans, but also the other drivers and my peers is such a positive motivation. The more of that I see, the better. I think it helps me keep going and keep working hard and take my therapy seriously. YOU'VE BEEN A BIG ADVOCATE FOR PEOPLE WITH CONCUSSIONS IN THE SPORTS WORLD. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER DRIVERS THAT MIGHT HAVE THE SAME SYMPTOMS BUT ARE AFRAID TO STAND UP TO IT? "It's really hard, as a driver, to say that you've got a problem. And it's hard to tell someone what to do in that situation. If you're not feeling good; for me, I was sort of scared straight into getting checked out. When I got hurt in 2012, it was so severe and my body changed and my mind changed so much, I just had to get it looked at. I couldn't go every day trying to self-manage my issues. And I just feel like, hopefully, anytime anybody gets dinged-up, or realized that they're just not right, or they're foggy, or whatever their symptoms are, that they would reach out to a neurologist and get checked out. And there's easy access with our sport. We've got a lot of great people that are part of the sport and who have been part of the sport for a long time, that handle those issues and can get you to the right people. "It's hard because you basically put yourself out there to be pulled out of the car. But man, your quality of life is so important. Your health beyond your driving career is so important. If you plan on having a family, or have a family already, those things are going to be a priority." OUTSIDE OF NASCAR, HAVE ANY OTHER PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES REACHED OUT TO YOU TO TALK ABOUT CONCUSSIONS? DO YOU FEEL LIKE MAYBE YOU OPEN A DOOR FOR OTHER SPORTS TO MAYBE LOOK AT CONCUSSIONS MORE SERIOUSLY FOR OTHER ATHLETES? "I don't know. I just know I'm trying to take care of myself. I've talked to a lot of drivers. I've talked to a lot of people. You get in this situation and a lot of people reach out and a lot of people have their own experiences that they want to share. And when you're going through that, you definitely want to share your experience with people who have had a common experience." IS IT AMAZING TO YOU HOW FAR WE HAVE ADVANCED MEDICALLY? "I think about that. I'm so thankful that there is knowledge and there is rehabilitation that is specific to what I have going on. There is just not this umbrella of treatment that they sort of give to everybody. They have specific ways to help and heal specific types of concussions and certain symptoms. That is why I think I enjoy talking to my doctor so often and going to see him so often is because you have so many questions. Every day you get a new concern or a new question and you really can't wait to get in the room and be able to talk to him about it. For them to have the knowledge they have today versus where we were 10 or 20 years ago is something I am very thankful for." YOU'VE HAD A GREAT CAREER IF IT CAME TO THAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER? HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT IT FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE? "What? You didn't say the word. (Laughs)" RETIREMENT? "When I went to see Dr. Petty for the first time in 2012 and then he set me up with the guys in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) they told me that our process was to get better and go back to racing. This one is no different. When I first went to see my doctor in this particular instance it was 'I need to get right because I need to get back in the car as soon as I can.' I'm surprised that I've missed this many races. ... I have every intention of honoring my current contract. I sat with Rick (Hendrick) before this happened a couple of months ago to talk about an extension. That is the direction that we are going. As soon as I can get healthy and get confident in how I feel and feel like I can drive a car and be great driving it then I want to drive. I want to race. I miss the competition. I miss being here. I miss the people and as Rick likes to say 'We've got unfinished business.' I'm not ready to stop racing. I'm not ready to quit." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Dale Jr. sidelined for next two Sprint Cup races
RELATED: Latest updates, timeline on Dale Jr.'s recovery Dale Earnhardt Jr . will not be behind the wheel of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, including this weekend's event at Michigan International Speedway , according to a Wednesday news release from Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt did not receive medical clearance to return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, according to the team. He will be replaced this weekend in the No. 88 driver's seat by Alex Bowman , who drives part time for the Earnhardt -owned JR Motorsports team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, and next weekend at Darlington Raceway by four-time series champ Jeff Gordon . "We know how hard Dale is working to get back," team owner Rick Hendrick said in a press release. "He's following what the doctors are saying, to the letter, and doing exactly what he needs to do. Everyone wants to see him in a race car, but his health is first and foremost. We're behind him." Earnhardt has been sidelined by concussion-related symptoms for the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. The two-time Daytona 500 winner has been keeping fans updated on his progress in recent weeks via social media and "The Dale Jr. Download" on Dirty Mo Radio. The Sprint Cup Series makes its second visit of the season to Michigan International Speedway this weekend, which culminates with Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Earnhardt said that the effects of a crash June 12 in the most recent Michigan race played a factor in his current concussion-related ailment. Gordon, interim driver of the No. 88 for the last four races, indicated last weekend that should an Earnhardt replacement be needed this weekend, a previous engagement would keep him out of the driver's seat. Bowman, 23, subbed in at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last month for the first race of Earnhardt's absence, finishing 26th after a late-race crash knocked him from the fringes of the top 10. Gordon is a seven-time winner at Darlington and will pilot the retro No. 88 Chevrolet, which honors the "Gray Ghost" paint scheme of Buddy Baker. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
When Jeff met Junior: Gordon recalls first meeting with Dale Jr.
RELATED: Latest updates, timeline of Dale Jr.'s recovery BRISTOL, Tenn. -- The first time he met Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Jeff Gordon never imagined that he would one day drive in relief for his Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Yet here Saturday night, Gordon will do just that, suiting up for the fourth consecutive race to drive the organization's No. 88 Chevrolet in place of Earnhardt in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Earnhardt has been sidelined since mid-July due to concussion-like symptoms and the timing of his return has yet to be determined. Their first meeting came in the mid 1990s at North Wilkesboro Speedway when Gordon and Dale Earnhardt , Earnhardt Jr.'s father, were at the top of their game. The elder Earnhardt was already a legendary figure in the sport; Gordon was on his way to becoming one. The cheering and jeering of the Earnhardt and Gordon fans was a weekly occurrence at tracks across the country. That the two would go on to become both friends and business associates seemed unfathomable to those in the grandstands. "I remember sitting there on pit road and Dale Sr. and he came walking by … it was the first time I ever met (Junior)," Gordon told NASCAR.com recently. "They were getting ready to qualify; I don't remember if he was driving a Late Model maybe … I don't exactly remember but I knew he'd been doing some racing and was building some momentum. "I remember that he was very respectful. It was cool to meet him and then shortly after that see him rise as quick as he did." Gordon "retired" from competition at the end of 2015, with four series titles and 93 career victories. The last time he visited Bristol, he was working in the television booth, just two months into his new role as a FOX NASCAR analyst. RELATED: Remembering some of the top moments at Bristol Now, he's back behind the wheel at a track where he notched five wins and five of 81 career poles. Hendrick officials announced July 14 that doctors had not cleared Earnhardt Jr. to compete the following weekend at New Hampshire. Alex Bowman stepped in and finished 26th in his only start with the team. Gordon took over the driving duties for races at Indianapolis (13th ), Pocono (27th ) and most recently Watkins Glen (14th ). Getting back in the car, and the No. 88 in particular, was an unusual feeling for Gordon although the 45-year-old certainly garnered his share of the spotlight throughout his career. "I knew it was a big story," he said of the return, "but still until you’re living it and the reality of it is there, you don't know how your heart's going to beat, how your hands are going to sweat. That first time on track at Indy, I was sweating. And not just because of the heat. "It would be different if I had been out for one week or two weeks. But I'd been out for eight months. I hadn't really driven this package. There's added pressure because of the situation, it being Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s car. To me the pressure was more about the performance." Earnhardt , who also missed two races in 2012 after suffering a concussion, is a two-time champion in NASCAR’s XFINITY Series and has 26 Sprint Cup victories. His absence from competition has seen him fall from 13th to 21st in the points standings. His move to the XFINITY Series (then Busch Grand National) is one Gordon hasn't forgotten either. Earnhardt made one start in the series '96 and eight in '97 before going full-time the following season. "I went to see Dale Sr. about some business and he said 'Hey come check out Dale Jr.'s car for Watkins Glen," Gordon said. "… I looked at the car and remember it wasn't fancy, wasn't some super premium piece of equipment. The shifter on it was so long. Total old school. At that point we had been making really nice transmissions, road course cars, short shifters and all those things." Gordon said he took the opportunity for a bit of friendly ribbing. "I gave Senior a hard time," he said. "I was like 'What's this? You're going to make him go to Watkins Glen in this? That shifter is just wrong. This car is not at all what he deserves.'" Earnhardt wasn't swayed by the comments, according to Gordon. "He goes, 'Oh no. I'm going to make him work for it. He's not going to have it easy; he's going to work on it himself. I'm not going give him the best equipment. He's not going to learn anything being in the best equipment. He's going to have to drive some mediocre equipment so he can learn.' "And I thought that was pretty cool." &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Dale Earnhardt Jr. says concussion-like symptoms 'plateaued'
RELATED: Gordon will sub longer if needed " Junior injury timeline Dale Earnhardt Jr. provided a health update Saturday morning from his Twitter account, saying the concussion-like symptoms that have forced him to miss three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races "have plateaued over the last week." Earnhardt has been sidelined since the team's announcement July 14 about his condition. Alex Bowman and Jeff Gordon have split time driving his Hendrick Motorsport No. 88 Chevrolet in the interim. Update: No change lately. Symptoms have plateaued over the last week. Balance/Gaze Stabilization are only issues. Docs preaching patience. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 30, 2016 Earnhardt said in Tuesday's edition of the " Dale Jr. Download" podcast on Dirty Mo Radio that he was heeding the advice of doctors in taking a slow course of recovery, saying that concussion-related ailments were not conditions that he could "race through" on the track. He reiterated that Saturday, tweeting that his physicians were "preaching patience." Four-time series champ Gordon, who raced his entire career with Hendrick Motorsports, emerged from retirement last weekend at Indianapolis as a substitute. Gordon is back in the No. 88 Chevy at least through this weekend at Pocono Raceway for Monday's Pennsylvania 400 (11 a.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). Earnhardt said in his podcast that he would have an update on his condition after a Monday visit with doctors. He indicated that would help the Hendrick organization determine its plans for next weekend's Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International. The team has said that there is no firm timetable for Earnhardt's return to competition. Gordon said Friday at Pocono that he would serve as an interim driver for as long as the team needed him. Should Gordon return next weekend at Watkins Glen, it would mark his 800th Sprint Cup start. </p>
Hendrick: 'William has nothing to do with Dale'
Hendrick Motorsports owner, Rick Hendrick, talks about how signing William Byron for 2017 has nothing to do with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s current condition and how it's all about the future of Hendrick Motorsports.
Johnson's No. 48 to honor Pearson, Earnhardt at Darlington
RELATED: See all the Darlington throwbacks " BUY TICKETS: Darlington CONCORD, N.C. -- The throwback paint scheme featured on the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson for this year's Bojangles' Southern 500 pays tribute to a pair of former series champions and NASCAR Hall of Fame members. Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports entry will carry a familiar blue and yellow scheme reminiscent of the colors associated with Dale Earnhardt in which he captured rookie of the year honors for NASCAR's premier series in 1979 and the first of his seven series championships a year later. Earnhardt drove for team owner Rod Osterlund at that time. Earnhardt did not compete in the '79 Southern 500, the fourth and final race of the season he was forced to miss due to injuries sustained in a hard crash earlier that season at Pocono Raceway . Subbing for the team in those four events was three-time NASCAR premier series champion and Hall of Fame member David Pearson. Pearson finished second at Talladega, fourth at Michigan and seventh at Bristol before putting the team in victory lane at Darlington Raceway . It was his ninth title at Darlington, long considered the series' most difficult track to master, and his third in the Labor Day classic. "I think it's really cool," Chad Knaus, crew chief for Johnson, said Wednesday during the unveiling of the car. "I can remember the car and scheme from when I was younger, seeing it on television. "Obviously Dale's first championship (in 1980) came in a paint scheme similar to this." Earnhardt's nine Darlington wins are second only to Pearson's 10; he also won three Southern 500 titles. Lowe's Home Improvement, longtime sponsor of Johnson and the No. 48 HMS team, has a tie-in as well, providing funding for the No. 2 entry at Talladega in '79. More than two dozen throwback paint schemes for this year's running of the Bojangles' 500 (Sunday, Sept. 4, 6 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR) have been announced. The program launched last season and is expected to continue for the next several seasons. "The whole Darlington thing is a lot of fun, the environment is full of energy," Knaus, who'll sport a throwback-styled firesuit similar to that of his driver, said. "Maybe I'll get a couple of stopwatches (to time cars), too." Johnson, a six-time series champion, has three Darlington wins, two in the 500. "To get another victory there," Knaus said, "would be fantastic." &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Earnhardt Jr. out through Darlington
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman brings you Up To Speed on the news that Alex Bowman and Jeff Gordon will fill in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at MIS and Darlington.
Cain: Dale Jr.'s trip to track brings mutual reassurance
RELATED: Dale Jr. in his own words " Timeline of injury, recovery WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- The drive into historic Watkins Glen International in upstate New York is as scenic as they come. Yellow, white and periwinkle-colored wildflowers punctuate the rolling countryside. Old, wooden barns are scattered among the wide-open fields, which boast spectacular mountain-top backdrops and some of the freshest air on the NASCAR schedule. It was all a nice backdrop Friday for the sport's favorite son, Dale Earnhardt Jr ., to make his first trackside visit since stepping out of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driver's seat three races ago to recover from concussion-like symptoms most likely suffered seven races ago at Michigan International Speedway . Fans were delighted, but respectful in seeking his autograph in the garage area. It was a similar scene outside the team trailers and inside the garages with Earnhardt smiling and waving to friends and teammates. "It just felt so weird not being there, so here we are," Earnhardt said. It was difficult to determine who was happier with Earnhardt's single-afternoon, trackside visit -- him or everyone else. With its one-of-a-kind scenery and friendly vibe, Watkins Glen was actually a perfect venue for Earnhardt to join the Sprint Cup Series for a dose of mutual reassurance. The fans, the whole Sprint Cup garage, want him back. More so, they want him healthy. And NASCAR's 13-time and reigning Most Popular Driver is not ready to differentiate between the words "when" and "if" that might be. His doctors don't care about either in terms of Earnhardt's racing return. They just want him better. And so does the garage, the media center and of course, his massive fandom. "My doctor thinks that to get through the therapy and to get through the symptoms you don't need to be adding stress to your life," Earnhardt calmly explained Friday to the room of NASCAR reporters. "The stress will slow down the process. "So, going into those kinds of conversations (about when to drive) aren't even necessary at this particular point. The point right now is just to get healthy. Just to get right. I'm not thinking about the what-ifs. I'm just listening to my doctors. We went into this with the intentions of getting back in the car when we get cleared. I think that is a possibility and so do my doctors." This is an uncommon situation for NASCAR. A concussion doesn't require a cast or a splint. It doesn't come with general timestamps for recovery. And that nuance is hard for the sport. And tougher on Earnhardt . He was soft-spoken and thoughtful Friday afternoon with the media. He was open and introspective. It was difficult at times to hear about the challenges and non-specifics. "Our intentions are to get cleared and get back to racing," Earnhardt said. "We are just taking it one evaluation at a time. It is frustrating to have to do it that way, but that is the process, and we hope and expect that when we go back for the next evaluation that we are symptom free and can start to see a timeline develop. Until then, we are just taking it one evaluation at a time. Those are typically every two to three to four weeks." Earnhardt conceded that in addition to the therapy his is doing -- two to three hours of mental and physical therapy daily -- he has made a point to update his massive fan base through his Dirty Mo Radio podcasts. "The one thing I worry the most about and I think I said on the podcast is that I don't like people to make assumptions on where I am at and how I am doing and what I am up to," Earnhardt said. "So it is best for my peace of mind, to give me peace of mind and to bring down any stress and anxiety through the process, to just open up and be honest about what is going on and how we are doing." The upside of this difficult situation is the attention Earnhardt is bringing to properly dealing with a concussion in this sport. He acknowledged that a decade or two ago, the medical community might not have been as able to so accurately diagnose and deal with the situation. Decades ago, stepping out of the race car wasn't always an option despite the sensibility of doing it. Earnhardt's example is powerful. "I'm so thankful that there is knowledge and there is rehabilitation that is specific to what I have going on," Earnhardt said. "There is just not this umbrella of treatment that they sort of give to everybody. They have specific ways to help and heal specific types of concussions and certain symptoms. That is why I think I enjoy talking to my doctor so often and going to see him so often -- because you have so many questions. "Every day you get a new concern or a new question and you really can't wait to get in the room and be able to talk to him about it. For them to have the knowledge they have today versus where we were 10 or 20 years ago is something I am very thankful for. And I feel very fortunate when I got to see my doctor, he will put me in front of four or five different specialists that handle a lot of different things as far as my rehabilitation and medication and so forth. There is so much to grab on to." Throughout his time in front of reporters, Earnhardt reassured the crowd of his hopes to get back behind the wheel of the Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. Most importantly, however, is his desire to get better, feel better, be better. And time is his.
Bowman: I'm not here to be Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Alex Bowman has been tapped as the replacement driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after Earnhardt was sidelined with concussion-like symptoms.