Sister: Earnhardt could be back next weekend

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s sister said Wednesday that NASCAR’s most popular driver could be back racing next week at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

Earnhardt will miss his second consecutive race Sunday at Kansas because of two concussions suffered in a six-week span.

Kelley Earnhardt Miller wrote in a post Wednesday on JRNation.com that Earnhardt is on schedule to test a car early next week. If all goes well, she said he can race again Oct. 28 at Martinsville.

“If all goes according to plan, and he continues to improve to 100%, he will test a race car early next week to be cleared for Martinsville,” she wrote. “This has definitely been an eye-opening experience and one that I hope we don’t revisit in his career.”

Earnhardt Miller said her brother has been resting per doctor orders, but has been allowed to watch some television and play some video games as long as he doesn’t “stress” his brain, she wrote.

Earnhardt did not seek treatment for the first concussion, suffered in an Aug. 29 crash at a tire test at Kansas. He sought treatment following a 25-car crash in the Oct. 7 race at Talladega that left him with a lingering headache.

The injury snapped his streak of 461 consecutive starts, which was the fifth longest active streak in the Sprint Cup Series. His doctor said Earnhardt cannot be cleared to race until he’s gone at least four days headache-free, then goes through various tests and spends some time behind the wheel.

Earnhardt Miller was with Earnhardt on Tuesday when he went to Pittsburgh to see a specialist at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Afterward, his entourage toured the Pittsburgh Steelers facility and had lunch in the team cafeteria.

Then they returned to North Carolina, where Earnhardt has daily therapies he’s been assigned to do at home as part of his recovery, she wrote.

Earnhardt Miller runs the day-to-day operations at JR Motorports, the Nationwide Series team that she owns with her brother, cousin Tony Eury Jr., and Rick Hendrick. She wrote in the post they’ve been grateful for the fan support since Earnhardt announced his concussions last week.

“The outpouring of support has been great, and well, the criticism, you can learn from that as well,” she wrote.

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