Earnhardt back behind wheel at Martinsville

Hendrick Motorsports released a statement on Tuesday stating that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been medically cleared to race again. The statement from HMS read:

“Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been medically cleared to return to NASCAR competition and will be back in the seat of the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Per NASCAR policy, NASCAR’s medical liaison office received official notification of his clearance to resume racing late this morning. Earnhardt announced Oct. 11 that he would miss two races (Charlotte and Kansas) while he was recovering from a concussion.”

Earnhardt suffered his second concussion in a six week period during the final lap of the Good Sam Roadside Assistance at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Oct. 7. On Thursday of the following week, he announced that he would be sidelined for two weeks because of the injury.

Regan Smith drove the No. 88 car as a substitute for the recovering Earnhardt in races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.

Early this week, Earnhardt underwent testing, both on-track and in a medical environment, to be cleared to race. He is expected to be back behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet this weekend for Sunday’s Tum’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

In his absence, Earnhardt has dropped to 12th spot in the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup. Prior to climbing out of the car after the Talladega race, he had dropped to 11th in points. There are 12 races remaining in the 2012 season, including races at Martinsville, Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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