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NASCAR’s most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was cleared Tuesday morning for this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway after missing the last two weeks to recover from concussion symptoms.

''Dale Jr. has done everything asked of him,'' said Petty, who consults with NASCAR and is Earnhardt's personal physician. ''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.''

The concussions snapped Earnhardt’s streak of 461 consecutive starts, fifth-longest active streak in the Sprint Cup Series, ending his chances to win the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Here’s a remarkable stat for your reading pleasue. Earnhardt missed races at Charlotte and Kansas, marking the first time a Cup event did not include an Earnhardt in the field since Sept. 3, 1979.


During Earnhardt’s absence Regan Smith drove the No. 88 Chevrolet.