Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not get back into a stock car this year.
The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet has not been medically cleared to compete for the remainder of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Hendrick Motorsports announced Friday. Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman will continue to fill in for Earnhardt in his absence.
“I wish I could return to the No. 88 team this season,” Earnhardt said, via Hendrick Motorsports. “To say I’m disappointed doesn’t begin to describe how I feel, but I know this is the right thing for my long-term health and career.
“I’m 100 percent focused on my recovery, and I will continue to follow everything the doctors tell me. They’re seeing good progress in my test results, and I’m feeling that progress physically. I plan to be healthy and ready to compete at Daytona in February.”
Earnhardt has missed the last six races while undergoing treatment for a concussion. Gordon is slated to replace Earnhardt this weekend at Darlington Raceway and three more times over the final 12 races of the Cup season.
The No. 88 driver schedule, provided by Hendrick Motorsports, is below:
Sept. 4, Darlington Raceway: Jeff Gordon*
Sept. 10, Richmond International Raceway: Jeff Gordon
Sept. 18, Chicagoland Speedway: Alex Bowman
Sept. 25, New Hampshire Motor Speedway: Alex Bowman
Oct. 2, Dover International Speedway: Jeff Gordon
Oct. 8, Charlotte Motor Speedway: Alex Bowman
Oct. 16, Kansas Speedway: Alex Bowman
Oct. 23, Talladega Superspeedway: Alex Bowman
Oct. 30, Martinsville Speedway: Jeff Gordon
Nov. 6, Texas Motor Speedway: Alex Bowman
Nov. 13, Phoenix International Raceway: Alex Bowman
Nov. 20, Homestead-Miami Speedway: Alex Bowman
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images