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Earnhardt, Allmendinger back for Martinsville

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been passed medically fit to return to racing next weekend at Martinsville, while Phoenix Racing are to keep AJ Allmendinger for a third outing.
NASCAR has confirmed that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been passed medically fit to return to competition, and will be back behind the wheel of the #88 Hendrick Motorsports car for this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway.

"Dale Jr. has done everything asked of him," said Dr Jerry Petty. "He hasn't had a headache since October 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."

NASCAR confirmed in a press release that their medical liaison office had received official notification of his clearance to resume racing late this morning, and that Earnhardt will therefore be racing at Martinsville this weekend.

Petty had been treating Earnhardt for the aftereffects of a double dose of concussion, the most recent being the one he sustained in a last-lap wreck that engulfed most of the field at Talladega two weeks ago.

Petty has been working in association with Dr Micky Collins, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program, who evaluated Earnhardt a week ago.

Since then, Earnhardt has reported that the headaches that had been troubling him since Talladega had cleared up, paving the way for him to get back behind the wheel again for a test run at the half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga. on Monday.

Petty evaluated the session and then conducted a final neuro-psychological evaluation in Charlotte on Tuesday morning. Finding no further symptoms of concussion, Petty gave the driver the okay to return to competition after missing two cup races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.

His seat in the #88 in both races had been taken by Regan Smith, whose place in the #51 Phoenix Racing car was in turn taken over at short-notice by AJ Allmendinger.

Earlier on Tuesday, the team listed Allmendinger as their driver for the forthcoming event at Martinsville. The 30-year-old Californian was 24th for the team at Charlotte, and had been running strongly in the top six at Kansas before a tyre blow-out caused him to crash out of the race.

Phoenix Racing general manager Steve Barkdoll said that team had been pleased with the job Allmendinger had done for them so far. They're hoping that he can repeat the form he showed in his last outing at Martinsville, for Penske Racing in April, when he clinched second place for the team. That was before he failed the random drugs test that saw him suspended from competition over the summer and fired by Penske, before his completion of the Road to Recovery rehabilitation program made him eligible to race again in September.

The team's selection of Allmendinger for Martinsville means that Smith will be sidelined for the race. However, the team said they were making their decision on driver selection on a week-by-week basis, and Smith may still get the nod to return to competition in November for one or more of the remaining races of the season at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead, Miami.



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The helmet of AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet, sits atop his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 11 in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images)
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Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS qualified for eleventh position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Earnhardt, Jr. is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Designate A Driver Chevrolet SS qualified for third position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Harvick is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Belkin/Wemo Chevrolet SS qualified for second position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, prepares for practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Eckrich Ford, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
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Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, sits on the grid under an umbrella prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 12, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Back Row L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Back Row L - R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, poses with his team in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 6, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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