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Dale Earnhardt Jr. to return at Martinsville

CONCORD, N.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this weekend at Martinsville, Va., after being medically cleared for competition.

Since being diagnosed with a concussion following the Oct. 7 race at Talladega, Ala., Earnhardt has participated in a rehabilitation program directed by Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty.

Throughout the process, Petty consulted with Dr. Micky Collins, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program.

“Dale Jr. has done everything asked of him,” Petty said. “He hasn’t had a headache since Oct. 12, and we have not been able to provoke any symptoms since that time. I have informed NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports that he is medically cleared for all NASCAR-related activity.”

Earnhardt was evaluated by Collins on Oct. 16 in Pittsburgh. On Monday, Earnhardt ran 123 laps in a Sprint Cup car during a test session monitored by Petty at the half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga. Petty cleared the driver Tuesday morning following a final neuropsychological evaluation in Charlotte.

Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 Chevrolets for Hendrick Motorsports, missed the Oct. 13 Charlotte Motor Speedway and Oct. 21 Kansas Speedway events.

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