NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

      === Hendrick confirms Earnhardt Jr. is cleared for Martinsville ===
 Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Team owner Rick Hendrick revealed on Sunday
 at  Kansas Speedway  that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to his driving duties
 in the No. 88 Chevrolet next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
 Earnhardt  Jr.,  who is NASCAR's most  popular driver, has missed the last two
 Sprint  Cup Series  races  --  Charlotte and  Kansas  --  after suffering  two
 concussions   within  a  six-week  period.  The  Hendrick  Motorsports  driver
 sustained  his first concussion during a crash while participating in the Aug.
 29  Goodyear tire  test  at the  newly-repaved Kansas  track.  Two weeks  ago,
 Earnhardt  Jr.  was involved in  a 25-car crash on  the final lap at Talladega
 Complaining  of headaches  following his  Talladega crash,  Earnhardt Jr.  was
 examined  by Dr.  Jerry Petty,  a neurosurgeon,  in Charlotte  two days  after
 Talladega.  He  underwent several  tests, including an  MRI, and therefore was
 diagnosed with a concussion. Earnhardt Jr. was advised to sit out at least the
 next two races.
 Last  Tuesday, Earnhardt  Jr. was examined by specialists at the University of
 Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he underwent extensive tests.
 Earnhardt Jr. is one of the 12 drivers in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup
 "Dale came through with flying colors, and everything is great," Hendrick said
 during  ESPN's broadcast  of the Sprint Cup  race at Kansas. "He can't wait to
 get  back in the  car, and he's really anxious. We're anxious to get him back,
 so next week, he's been cleared to race at Martinsville."
 Regan  Smith has  substituted for  Earnhardt Jr.  in the  No. 88  car at  both
 Charlotte and Kansas.
 10/21 15:28:18 ET

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