Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed two important tests this week to be cleared to return to the driver’s seat of the No. 88 Chevrolet for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at the Martinsville Speedway.
The third-generation driver has missed two races after suffering a second concussion in a two-month period.
The first was an on-track test at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga., on Monday. The second was at the doctor’s office on Tuesday.
“Dale Jr. has done everything asked of him,” Dr. Jerry Petty said. “He hasn’t had a headache since Oct. 12, and we have not been able to provoke any symptoms since that time. I have informed NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports that he is medically cleared for all NASCAR-related activity.”
Petty was at Monday’s test, watching Earnhardt turn laps on the half-mile short track. The neurosurgeon also was responsible for making the final evaluation on Tuesday that cleared Earnhardt’s return.
“[Earnhardt] looked great and ran some great laps,” crew chief Steve Letarte posted on Twitter.
Group tries to save North Wilkesboro Speedway … again
If Save The Speedway Motorsports has its way, North Wilkesboro Speedway will open its doors for racing after sitting dormant for the past 17 years.
The half-mile race track in North Carolina was part of the NASCAR schedule for 50 years until New Hampshire Motor Speedway owner Bob Bahre and Texas Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith bought it in 1995. They quickly shut down the track and moved the two annual races to their tracks.
There have been other failed attempts to revive North Wilkesboro. Existing tracks on the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series are struggling to sells seats, so attempts to add another speedway haven’t generated much interest.
The track hosted local and PASS races in 2011, but it couldn’t make a profit.
STS Motorsports hopes to change all that by asking fans to make donations to re-open the speedway.
“We seemed to see people come in with grand ideas that fizzled over time, while disenfranchising the motorsports community as a whole,” STS Motorsports founder Robert Marsden said.
Patrick’s payback backfires
Danica Patrick wanted to prove she’s no pushover, but she suffered the most following her retaliation against Landon Cassill last Sunday at the Kansas Speedway.
In the process, she actually reminded everyone else it’s easy to push her around.
Her car spun and crashed when she tried to push Cassill’s car around after the two bumped earlier in the race. Her crew chief wasn’t happy, telling her “you know better than that.”
Cassill got the last laugh. According to NASCAR.com, Cassill told his team over the radio: “Rule No. 1 in stock car racing is knowing how to wreck someone without wrecking yourself.”
Patrick will get another chance to prove herself Nov. 4 at the Texas Motor Speedway.