Dale Earnhardt Jr ruled out of rest of 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup

Dale Earnhardt Jr will now miss the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season due to his concussion-related illness, with Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman continuing to stand in

Dale Earnhardt Jr ruled out of rest of 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup

Earnhardt has already been forced to miss six races since being ruled out prior to the New Hampshire race in mid-July.

His Hendrick Motorsports team has now announced that Earnhardt will not be able to return this season, with 12 races still remaining.

He has been undergoing treatment for his condition, which flared up in a crash in the Michigan race in June but has its roots in two concussions he suffered in 2012.

Gordon and Bowman have shared Earnhardt's Chevrolet in his absence and will continue to do so over the remaining races.

Four-time Cup champion Gordon, who retired from full-time competition at the end of last season, will drive at Darlington this weekend as previously announced and also at Richmond, Dover and Martinsville, with Bowman to contest the other eight races.

Earnhardt said he was now concentrating on being able to return for the start of the 2017 season next February.

"To say I'm disappointed doesn't begin to describe how I feel, but I know this is the right thing for my long-term health and career," he said.

"I'm 100% focused on my recovery, and I will continue to follow everything the doctors tell me.

"They're seeing good progress in my test results, and I'm feeling that progress physically.

"I plan to be healthy and ready to compete at Daytona in February. I'm working toward that."

Team owner Rick Hendrick said that Gordon and Bowman's qualities would help the team in Earnhardt's extended absence.

"Jeff is one of the best of all time and knows our system," he said.

"He brings things to the table that no one else can.

"Alex is a young driver with a lot of talent, and he will give us a fresh perspective.

"We know they're not only capable of running up front and giving us a chance to win, but they'll help us get better."

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