NASCAR Cup: Jeff Gordon in No. 88 at least two more races
Jeff Gordon (left) and car owner Rick Hendrick (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
Hendrick Motorsports released a statement on Tuesday announcing that Jeff Gordon will continue to serve as fill-in driver behind the wheel of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Chevrolet for at least two more NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Aug. 7 and at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 20. The weekend between those two races is an off-weekend for the series.
“We have a break in the schedule after Watkins Glen, so the extra week of recovery time will certainly be a benefit,” Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said. “Dale will be back when he’s ready, and we’re looking forward to that happenning, but the priority continues to be his health and well-being. We’ll keep our focus on that and let the doctors guide us.”
Earnhardt continues to sit out of NASCAR competition because of concussion-like symptoms. So far, he has missed three races. Alex Bowman drove the No. 88 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on July 17 and Gordon drove the car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24 and at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on Monday.
“I will be here as long as they need me,” Gordon said during the Pocono race weekend. “I say that very loosely.”
According to the HMS press release, Earnhardt was evaluated Tuesday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Earnhardt said on a Monday podcast that he is having problems with balance and gaze stabilization.
To this point, Earnhardt has not been at the race track since being sidelined, but the Hendrick Motorsports release from Tuesday implies that he will be at Watkins Glen, as he is listed as being available to the media in the track’s media center on Friday.