EARNHARDT UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, has not been cleared by physicians to compete in at least the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events as he continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms. He will miss the races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 24) and Pocono Raceway (July 31). Indianapolis will mark the second consecutive event he will miss after not competing Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Earnhardt underwent further evaluation Tuesday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. The driver said this week on his “The Dale Jr. Download” podcast that he has been experiencing issues with balance and nausea. He will not travel to Indianapolis or Pocono. A timetable has not yet been established for his return.
GORDON RETURNS: Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will return to step in for Earnhardt and drive the No. 88 Chevrolet SS at both Indianapolis and Pocono. Gordon, who grew up in nearby Pittsboro, Indiana, most recently raced in the 2015 Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and started a new role in the broadcast booth with FOX this season, in addition to continuing his role as an equity owner of Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon has made all 797 of his career Cup starts for car owner Rick Hendrick. He competed in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015.