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Concussed Earnhardt out, Allmendinger back

Dale Earnhardt Jr., one of the NASCAR's most popular and highest profile drivers and one of the 12 Chase contenders for the Sprint Cup, has been ruled out of two races with concussion.
The final lap wreck at Talladega on Sunday has effectively ended Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Sprint Cup Chase season, after it was revealed that he will miss at least the next two races of the season following a diagnosis of concussion.

In a press release from his Cup team Hendrick Motorsports, it was revealed that Earnhardt was confirmed as suffering from the after-effects of concussion following a medical examination by Dr. Jerry Petty on Wednesday afternoon in Charlotte. Earnhardt had been complaining of headaches in the intervening days since the end of Sunday's race.

Under NASCAR rules, a confirmed case of concussion requires a driver to be sidelined for a period of time on safety grounds. Earnhardt was not reported as injured on the day, and even stopped to give his team mate Jimmie Johnson a lift back to pit road after the accident.

It also emerged that it appears Earnhardt suffered an earlier concussion at the end of August after a hard crash at Kanas during official tyre tests at the resurfaced speedway. That concussion was not diagnosed at the time, but the fact this Talladega makes it two such blows to the head in six weeks is enough to concern the series medical staff into demanding that Earnhardt be parked up for the next fortnight for his own good.

As a result, Earnhardt will be absent from both this Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway as well as week's race at Kansas Speedway. It brings to an end his record of 461 consecutive Sprint Cup race starts and will be the first NASCAR Cup race without an Earnhardt competing in it since September 1979.

It isn't clear how long Earnhardt will be out of the car. Although two weeks is the minimum, it might be much longer before he is given a medical release to compete once again.

In the Nationwide Series, driver Eric McClure had to sit out six weeks earlier this season with the lingering after-effects of a heavy concussion, also suffered at Talladega.

"There's not really a set timetable for those things and that's been the challenging thing," said McClure at the time. "That's what kept me from coming back was the lingering symptoms."

With only six races remaining in the ten-race Chase, and having already taken a hefty hit in points and positions following the last-lap wreck at Talledega on Sunday, even two races out effectively ends Earnhardt's hopes of featuring in the battle for the 2012 Sprint Cup Series championship.

The team has announced that Regan Smith will take over the driving duties of the #88 car in Earnhardt's absence.




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Kurt Busch, driver of the #51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet, talks to the media after an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 7, 2012 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, flips in the air after and incident with the field in the final lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 7, 2012 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, stands by his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finished 7th Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Earnhardt Jr. is 4th, Gordon is 1st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammate Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS won. (Photo Credit: HHP/Alan Marler for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS finished 1st, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS finished 37th Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick  is 22nd, Kahne is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd.(Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS celebrates his win Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick is 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. (Photo Credit: HHP/Tami Kelly-Pope for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS celebrates his win Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick is 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. (Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford tangle during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles` Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on April 12, 2014 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, crashes early in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
The Air-Titan runs on track prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 6, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Ford EcoBoost Ford, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, loses control of his car during the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 Toyota No. 1 For Everyone Sales Event Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS races to a third-place finish Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Racing Chevrolet SS won the race and Jimmie Johnson driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finished second. (Photo by HHP/Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, prepares for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 23, 2014 in Fontana, California. Hornish is replacing Denny Hamlin who was not cleared to race due to illness.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS qualified 15th Friday, March 21, 2014 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Earnhardt, Jr. is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS finished 8th and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 24th Sunday, March 16, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Kahne is 11th, Earnhardt, Jr. is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)

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