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Hendrick on Dale Jr.: 'We want him for a long time'
RELATED: Support for Dale Jr. LOUDON, N.H. – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Rick Hendrick said driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will undergo additional tests early next week as the popular driver works through concussion-like symptoms that sidelined him for Sunday’s New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "I'm not a doctor but he's running through a bunch of tests, going to have some more tests the first of the week and he's doing good," Hendrick told members of the media Sunday morning at NHMS. "He wants to be in the car. The doctor's going to tell him when it's OK for him to be back. I know he's anxious, and we want him back as soon as the doctor gives him clearance." Team officials announced July 14 that Earnhardt, winner of 26 Sprint Cup races, had not been cleared to race this weekend after visiting doctors for what he thought was a possible sinus infection. JR Motorsports driver Alex Bowman was tabbed to drive the team's No. 88 Chevrolet in Sunday’s race. "Dale is special to me, taking the driving part away," says Hendrick , who has fielded a car for Earnhardt since 2008. "I just want him to feel good when he gets back in the car. I don't want him to push himself. He's kind of an ironman, he doesn't want to let the team down, he doesn't want to let his fans down. But we need him for the long pull, and he wants to be in the car. "The best thing the doctors can do is go through all the protocol and do all the tests, and there's a bunch … to do. When they say 'You’re good to go,' he'll be back." Should Earnhardt not be cleared to return in time for next week's Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, four-time series champion Jeff Gordon will handle the driving duties. Gordon stepped away from full-time competition at the end of 2015 to join the NASCAR on FOX broadcast team as an analyst. He was on vacation with his family when Earnhardt’s condition was announced. "He thought I was kidding at first," Hendrick said of his conversation with his former driver. "He was on vacation and I asked him what he was doing next week. He said 'I'll be in Indy, that's one of my appearances I have to make.' And I said, 'Well, bring your driver's uniform. Just in case.' "He said, 'Are you kidding?' and I said 'No, I'm serious.' " "If Dale can't go, then Jeff is ready to step in." Hendrick said Gordon could fill in beyond next week's race if necessary, but added that "we're just taking it a week at a time." "Hopefully Dale is going to be back next week and it's not even something that we think is going to happen," he said. "But if it does … Jeff is a team player, he wants to support the organization and I'm sure he'll do whatever he has to do." READ MORE: Bowman keeps missing Junior's calls The latest incident marks the second time Earnhardt Jr. has missed races for a concussion or concussion-like symptoms. In 2012 he missed two races late in the season after suffering two concussions in a six-week stretch. Hendrick said he didn't believe the latest incident raised a red flag and would possibly be something that could curtail his driver's racing career. "He and I talked about years beyond next year, around I guess Daytona," Hendrick said. "If there was something major, major wrong I think (the doctors) would have seen it already. "I'm very hopeful and he's very hopeful and I think the doctors want to err on the side of being sure. We want him for a long time. He loves the fans, he loves the sport, he loves to race and we love him in the organization. I'm proud of him." Earnhardt was 13th in points prior to missing Sunday's race. He is winless this season, meaning he would need a victory to possibly secure a spot in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The field of 16 will consist of this year's race winners and, if there aren't at least 16, additional positions to fill the field would be determined based on championship driver point standings. Hendrick said his organization has not requested a medical waiver from NASCAR. "I haven't even thought about a waiver or any of that right now," he said. Chase eligibility includes the requirement that drivers attempt to qualify for all points races prior to the start of the Chase. Such waivers have been provided by NASCAR in the past. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Hendrick GM: Jeff Gordon to drive at Indy if Dale Jr. can't
RELATED: Drivers react, offer thoughts on Earnhardt Jr. news Hendrick Motorsports indicated that Jeff Gordon would return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr. next weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway if Earnhardt has not fully recovered from concussion-like symptoms. Gordon, a four-time champion in NASCAR's premier series, ended his full-time driving career last season. All of his 93 victories and 797 starts came during his 23-year career with Hendrick Motorsports , which fields four cars including the No. 88 Chevrolet driven by Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday that Earnhardt would miss this Sunday's New Hampshire 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) with concussion-like symptoms. Earnhardt also missed time in the 2012 season, sitting out two races after sustaining two concussions in a stretch of six weeks. Doug Duchardt, Hendrick Motorsports' general manager, revealed the striking news of Gordon's possible Indy return on July 24 in the Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard during a press conference Friday morning at New Hampshire. Gordon is NASCAR's all-time winningest driver at the historic Brickyard with five Indianapolis victories on his Hall of Fame-worthy resume. Duchardt said that there was no timetable for Earnhardt's return to competition, reiterating the organization's stance from Thursday's announcement. "I really don't want to speculate past Indy," Duchardt said. "I think we just want to take it one race at a time here. I think putting any speculation past that is assuming that Dale is not going to be ready for that amount of time. We will obviously be thinking about contingency plans, but we don't have anything formalized for sure past Indy." Alex Bowman will be making his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start of the season in the Hendrick No. 88 Chevrolet. Bowman, 23, is also a part-time competitor for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Duchardt indicated that Gordon was not strongly considered for this weekend's duty at New Hampshire because before Thursday, all indications were that Earnhardt potentially needed only a relief driver instead of a full-fledged replacement. Additionally, Gordon revealed Thursday that he was currently in France, which would have made for a tight turnaround to prepare for competition in New England this weekend. NASCAR spokesperson David Higdon said that for Earnhardt to return to racing, competition officials would need notice of medical clearance from an independent, board-certified neurologist. Duchardt said that the team would make a determination by the middle of next week for the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet at Indianapolis. "For (crew chief) Greg (Ives) and the team, certainly the way Jeff sits in the car and what we have to do to prepare the car for Jeff they have to get ready for that," Duchardt said. But, I think I would be looking around Wednesday time frame." Ryan Newman , a 15th-year veteran with Richard Childress Racing, said that a driver of Gordon's caliber would likely be capable of competitively rejoining the series without signs of rust. "Yeah, just because you go to the nude beach for a couple of months doesn't mean you don't know how to put your underwear back on," Newman said, prompting laughter in the NHMS media center. </p>
Junior's health news was unexpected, Hendrick official says
RELATED: Drivers react to Junior's news LOUDON, N.H. – Doug Duchardt, general manager for Hendrick Motorsports , says there was no indication that driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was dealing with concussion-like symptoms during the organization's weekly competition meeting earlier this week. Two days after that meeting, Duchardt and others were informed that the 41-year-old would not be competing in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "Tuesdays we have our competition meeting and he shows up and he's just normal Dale," Duchardt said during a press conference Friday morning at NHMS. "It was Mexican day, so he was in a good mood. … It was just a normal day. If you sat down and listened to him discuss the Kentucky race … you would just think he was no different." On Thursday, HMS officials announced that Earnhardt had not been cleared by doctors to compete this weekend, and that Alex Bowman would replace Earnhardt in the team's No. 88 Chevrolet. In Thursday's statement from the team announcing the driver change, Earnhardt said he was not feeling well going into last weekend's race at Kentucky Speedway. After returning from the race, he saw doctors for what he initially thought was a severe sinus infection. "When that didn't help, I decided to dig a little deeper," Earnhardt said. "Because of my symptoms and my history with concussions, and after my recent wrecks at Michigan and Daytona, I reached out and met with a neurological specialist. After further evaluation, they felt it was best for me to sit out." His timeline for returning to competition is unknown and Earnhardt is expected to see doctors again next week for an update on his condition. Duchardt said if Earnhardt is unable to return for next week's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, former HMS driver Jeff Gordon , a four-time series champion who retired from driving at the end of 2015, would be his replacement in the No. 88 entry. Duchardt would not speculate on any potential replacements beyond next weekend's event. "We will obviously be thinking about contingency plans, but we don't have anything formalized for sure past Indy," he said. This weekend's race will mark the second time Earnhardt has been sidelined by a concussion or concussion-like symptoms. In 2012, he missed two races late in the season following a hard crash during a test at Kansas Speedway. According to David Higdon, Chief Communications Officer for the sanctioning body, NASCAR "requires drivers to submit a baseline neurocognitive assessment, such as an impact test … as a prerequisite for being licensed to compete." The requirement became mandatory in 2013 following "comprehensive, industry-wide education process," Higdon said. "Additionally, NASCAR's medical advisory group, a team of consulting physicians who work directly with the league on policy development while regularly meeting with drivers to continue the education process, includes many leaders in the neurological field. … "Another important element worth noting is the active role our drivers and teams take in monitoring their health. Drivers approach this responsibility very seriously and that ultimately benefits their entire team, the sport and their fellow competitors. "We applaud Dale Earnhardt Jr. for being a great example dating back to 2012 where he chose not to race in Charlotte and in Kansas during the Chase and has made that decision this weekend as well." At Michigan last month, Earnhardt was involved in an incident with fellow drivers Chris Buescher and AJ Allmendinger, but was able to drive his car back to the garage. At the time he told FS1 that the impact "wasn't too bad, actually." Barely one month later, Earnhardt was one of 22 competitors caught up in a crash at Daytona. Duchardt said there was no advance warning that something was amiss following the incidents at MIS or Daytona. "We didn't know of anything until he started talking to Greg (Ives, crew chief) about not feeling quite right in Kentucky," he said. "I think this weekend he is just, per doctor's orders, laying low like most people in these situations – minimum stimulation and just work to get better and keep activities down." Higdon said officials would "need to receive a notice from an independent board-certified neurologist" before Earnhardt, or any driver diagnosed with a similar injury, would be allowed to return. "That would be our expectation that the driver is prepared and able to compete in our sport," he said. Earnhardt is 13th i n points and has yet to win this season. His eligibility for one of the 16 positions in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup upon his return, should he be in position to qualify for a spot, would be determined by NASCAR. Attempting to compete in all races is one of the Chase eligibility requirements, although NASCAR can award an exemption based on each individual situation. Defending series champion Kyle Busch was provided a waiver last season after missing the first 11 points races due to injury; three-time series champion Tony Stewart has also received a waiver after missing this year's first eight races due to injury. Because of Earnhardt's initial concerns of potential sinus issues, Bowman was already on standby with the plan to replace the veteran once Earnhardt started Sunday's race at New Hampshire, according to Duchardt. When Earnhardt wasn't cleared to return to competition, the team moved forward with Bowman as the replacement. "The most important thing in this whole process is for Dale to get better and feel better," Duchardt said, "and we're going to let that happen on the timeline it's going to happen on. "And so, basically, less than 24 hours ago we found out that Dale couldn't run. We had Alex lined up to be in the car. It made perfect sense. And I have confidence that he and Greg will go a good job this weekend."
The history of Hendrick Motorsports and full crews for Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Hendrick Motorsports plane forced to make emergency landing
A Hendrick Motorsports plane carrying team members was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning as the team traveled back from Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . According to a team spokesperson, the plane was diverted to Memphis International Airport after a presence of smoke was noticed in the plane's cabin. The plane landed safely and is being evaluated, according to the HMS spokesperson. No injuries were reported and none of the team's four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers were on board the aircraft. The passengers returned to North Carolina on another flight. Listen to the spotter for Jimmie Johnson 's No. 48 Chevrolet, Earl Barban, recount the flight in the video above. Jessica O'Brien, wife of Dale Earnhardt Jr . No. 88 engineer Tim O'Brien, tweeted the following reaction: This was scary to wake up to! Glad my hubby @tobrien82 & everyone at @hendrickfeedr are home & safe! https://t.co/8ZuwHQf92b — Jessica O'Brien (@EdgehillMgmt) March 7, 2016
Hendrick Motorsports ’ Martinsville story, a tale of two tracks
There is a team and a track sharing an emotional bond in southern Virginia. Go inside the story of triumph and tragedy that surrounds Hendrick Motorsports and Martinsville Speedway.
Junior ramping up recovery by shooting hoops?
MORE: Latest Dale Jr. updates With Dale Earnhardt Jr. in recovery mode as he works his way back from battling concussion-like symptoms, the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports driver has a bit of extra time on his hands as he lays low and won't be making a trip to the race track until Watkins Glen, at the earliest. Enter NBA Live. Confessing my addiction to @EASPORTSNBA on my iPad. I'm up at 5:30 cause there's a shooting drill to get done. #LV25 #Hornets #BanksNotOpen — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 25, 2016 5:30 a.m. shooting drills? That's some Kobe-level committment. EA Sports took notice. @EASPORTSNBA I got em all matched up nice, but 2way and Bigs are playing well. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 25, 2016 Hey, at least he isn't playing "Pokémon Go." RELATED: Hate it or love it, 'Pokémon Go' is the future
Dale Jr. gives post-Indy health update
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he still is working to eliminate concussion-like symptoms that have sidelined him for the last two weeks in an update provided in the latest edition of the Dale Jr. Download podcast on Tuesday. "You can race with some ailments," Earnhardt said. "You can race with a bad wrist -- or we've seen Denny (Hamlin) and guys race with bad knees. But one of the things you cannot race through is concussion-like symptoms. You know, the balance-deal is a critical part of being able to drive a race car. "This process is going to take a little bit longer -- I think that's what I was trying to convey when I was telling you guys how I was going to take this slow and listen to the advice of my doctors. I'm not going to go against that advice, no matter what. I can't play around at this age and with my history. I definitely don't need to get cute." This marks the second time in Earnhardt's Sprint Cup Series career that he has dealt with concussion-like symptoms, having been sidelined for two races in 2012 after a crash during a test at Kansas Speedway. Jeff Gordon , who drove the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is scheduled to fill in for Earnhardt again this weekend at Pocono Raceway. A date has not been announced for Earnhardt's return, but Junior, who says he has been doing physical and mental exercises for two-and-a-half hours each day, promised an update next Monday following his doctor's visit. "I'm going for another evaluation here soon to see what kind of gains we've made, get in front of my doctors, let them get a good look at me and let them tell me where they think I'm at," Earnhardt said. "And that will help us make the decision on what we're going to do for Watkins Glen." The full podcast can be found here . </p>
Hendrick Motorsports picks up new technical partner
CONCORD, N.C. (Jan. 18, 2016) -- WIX Filters has joined Hendrick Motorsports as a key technical partner with an agreement that will supply innovative filtration products and provide critical development support to the 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions through 2019. With a four-year pact, WIX's air and oil filters will be used in competition by the four Sprint Cup Series teams of Hendrick Motorsports with drivers Kasey Kahne , Chase Elliott , Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr . Its logo will be featured on team equipment, transporters and underneath the hood of Hendrick Motorsports ' Chevrolet SS race cars. "Since the early 1960s when Richard Petty began using our filters, generations of motorsports champions have driven to Victory Lane with WIX," said Jennifer Gibson, brand manager for WIX Filters. "Adding a team like Hendrick Motorsports only further positions us as the number-one filter in motorsports , and we couldn’t be more excited to see what that means on the track this season." "We pride ourselves on our technical superiority and high performance racing filters, and we like to align ourselves with the best," said Bill Stamey, engineering manager for WIX Filters. "Becoming a Hendrick Motorsports technical partner this race season is an incredible honor and a testament to our ongoing innovation and hard work." Hendrick Motorsports has earned 240 points-paying Sprint Cup wins since 1984, and its engines have more than 300 victories across all NASCAR series. Last season, the team’s engines posted wins in 14 of 36 Sprint Cup races and powered six Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contenders. "WIX Filters has been involved with NASCAR for nearly five decades," said Doug Duchardt, general manager of Hendrick Motorsports . "They not only will provide proven filters for our race cars but impressive capabilities in research and development. We know both their products and insights will ultimately help improve our performance. It’s an exciting partnership for our entire competition group, and we look forward to many successes together."
Darian Grubb heads back to Hendrick Motorsports
RELATED: See who is on the move for 2016 Hendrick Motorsports announced Monday that it has named former Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief Darian Grubb as its vehicle production director. The 40-year-old Grubb "will oversee every aspect of race car manufacturing" in the newly created role, according to a release provided by the Hendrick organization. Grubb will work alongside vehicle technical director Kenny Francis, another former crew chief, to spearhead production and engineering for Hendrick Motorsports ' four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. MORE: Grubb 'surprised' by JGR decision The hiring also reunites Grubb with the Concord, North Carolina-based operation, where he worked in various engineering and crew chief roles from 2003-08. "It means a lot to come back to Hendrick Motorsports ," said Grubb, a Floyd, Virginia native. "This is a role that will allow me to contribute to the success of the entire organization, which was very important to me. Kenny is someone I greatly respect, so the chance to work side-by-side with him was a big factor. Everything is familiar, and I think that will make for a smooth transition. "The more we talked about the opportunity, the more it felt right. I'm ready to get started." Joe Gibbs Racing said in a Dec. 21 news release that Grubb was "currently exploring several opportunities" as it unveiled its 2016 crew chief lineup. It ended a four-year tenure at JGR, where Grubb paired with drivers Denny Hamlin (2012-14) and Carl Edwards (2015), combining for nine Sprint Cup victories in his time there. RELATED: JGR announces crew chief lineup for Cup teams Grubb began his stock-car racing career with team owner Richard Petty, shortly after graduating from Virginia Tech with a mechanical engineering degree. After three years as lead engineer for the No. 48 Chevrolet and Jimmie Johnson , then an up-and-coming star, Grubb made his biggest splash in his debut atop the pit box, helping guide Johnson to a victory in the 2006 Daytona 500 as interim crew chief while Chad Knaus served a four-race suspension. After notching two more premier-series wins and filling other engineering roles, Grubb departed Hendrick to serve as crew chief for Tony Stewart and the newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. That prolific pairing netted 11 victories over three seasons, culminating in Stewart's third Sprint Cup championship in 2011.