Dale Earnhardt Jr. plans to return behind the wheel next week testing a car before he is cleared to get back to competition a few days later at Martinsville Speedway.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver continues to rest following his concussion diagnosis, which sidelined him from last weekend's Sprint Cup event at Charlotte and the coming Chase round at Kansas Speedway, the same venue where he suffered a first concussion during a crash while testing on Aug. 29.
Earnhardt's sister Kelly wrote on a blog on Wednesday morning that his brother continues to rest in order to recover after he experienced headaches following a multicar crash on the last lap of the Cup playoff race at Talladega. According to Earnhardt, if the healing process continues according to plan he would test a car next week, hoping to get cleared to compete again.
"If all goes according to plan, and he continues to improve to 100 percent, he will test a race car early next week to be cleared for Martinsville," Earnhardt's sister wrote. "This has definitely been a eye-opening experience and one that I hope we don't revisit in his career. The outpouring of support has been great, and well, the criticism, you can learn from that as well."
On Tuesday Earnhardt spent the day at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center doing "different therapies and exercises" before returning home where he continues to consult with doctors daily.
Earnhardt revealed last Thursday that he had suffered a concussion in a crash while tire testing at Kansas on Aug. 29. He admitted to feeling some effects of that while racing the next few weeks. Earnhardt said that he felt vertigo following the Talladega crash as well as lingering headaches which prompted him to consult a doctor, after which it was determined that he would sit out the next two events.
Regan Smith, who suffered an engine failure while running in the top 10 last weekend at Charlotte, will replace Earnhardt at Kansas again this weekend.