Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team is confident he will be given the green light to return to competitive NASCAR Sprint Cup action once he has completed a test run on Monday.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver sat out the last two Cup races following a concussion diagnosis in the aftermath of a last-lap crash at Talladega, which happened around six weeks after he had suffered a first hit while testing at Kansas Speedway. Earnhardt has been resting and completing different therapies and exercises since his diagnosis, and also underwent successful tests last week at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
On Monday, exactly 14 days after his Talladega crash, Earnhardt will drive a Cup car at Gresham, S.C., before then being tested by Dr. Jerry Petty on Tuesday, where he should get the final approval to race again.
"I will be shocked if he's not in the car [at Martinsville]," said team owner Rick Hendrick. "Everything looks good. His attitude and the way he feels; he's had no headaches since Thursday or Friday of Charlotte, and the tests have gone real well. I think Dr. Petty is just being super-cautious and I applaud him for that.
"I think the sequence is that he [Dr. Petty] will be with him at the test Monday, they will evaluate him in his office Tuesday, and then he will notify NASCAR if he's OK."
Due to the headaches associated with his concussion, Earnhardt missed his first Sprint Cup race since the 1999 season finale at Atlanta, breaking a run of 461 consecutive outings in NASCAR's top series.