Retired NASCAR champion Gordon may fill in for Dale Jr

Hendrick Motorsports General Manager Doug Duchardt told media Friday morning that if Dale Earnhardt Jr.is not cleared to return to the auto for next weekend's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon would fill the seat.

Gordon, a four-time NASCAR Premier Series champion, retired at the end of a year ago and is a FOX Sports analyst on NASCAR television broadcasts.

USA Today reports the 44-year-old might be called into racing action since Chevrolet's Dale Earnhardt Jr.is dealing with concussion-related symptoms and might not be allowed to race.

Two days after that meeting, Duchardt and others were informed that the 41-year-old would not be competing in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt will sit out this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway because he shows symptoms of a concussion.

Hendrick Motorsports general manager Doug Duchardt says Gordon has agreed to return and drive next week if he is needed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In his 18-year career, Earnhardt Jr. has won 26 races in NASCAR's premier series, but he still hasn't won a race in 2016. "If you sat down and listened to him discuss the Kentucky race ... you would just think he was no different".

Earnhardt was involved in a 22-car wreck in Daytona earlier this month but said last weekend that he was feeling fine and thought the problem was allergies. "I saw a family doctor and was given medication for allergies and a sinus infection".

Earnhardt missed two races as the result of a pair of concussions in 2012. When that didn't help, I made a decision to dig a little deeper.

Whether Gordon returns to race at Indy, however, depends on the prognosis for Earnhardt, who was advised by doctors this week not to race at Loudon. He's reportedly suffering from concussion-like symptoms after a series of wrecks last month at Michigan International Speedway.

On Friday at New Hampshire, David Higdon, Vice President of NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications, opened the Hendrick Motorsports news conference by laying out details of the process Earnhardt Jr.is going through.

Earnhardt later took to Twitter to thank everyone for their support: "I appreciate everyone's support and prayers and will miss my team terribly this weekend". He's got as much experience as possible and likely has a legitimate shot at winning it, even if he has sat out for the season thus far. "I'm looking forward to treatment with the goal of getting back in the race vehicle when the doctors say I'm ready".

Earnhardt's health issues also bring an important opportunity to Bowman, who drives a limited NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule for JR Motorsports. The group works with Boston University on research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative disease that doctors believe is caused by repeated blows to the head. "In the meantime, we have full confidence in Greg (Ives) and the team, and we know they'll do a great job".

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