Jeff Gordon to come out of retirement if Dale Earnhardt Jr. can’t race at Brickyard

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Jeff Gordon (left) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. talk in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 Powered by Kroger at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 26, 2013. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. — Four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon will briefly come out of retirement at Indianapolis Motor Speedway if Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t recover from his concussion-like symptoms in time for the Brickyard 400 on July 24, ESPN reports.

Earnhardt was evaluated in Charlotte on Thursday and doctors did not clear him to participate in this weekend’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“I wasn’t feeling great the week going into Kentucky (Speedway) and thought it was possibly severe allergies,” Earnhardt said, according to a prepared statement. “I saw a family doctor and was given medication for allergies and a sinus infection. When that didn’t help, I decided to dig a little deeper. Because of my symptoms and my history with concussions, and after my recent wrecks at Michigan and Daytona, I reached out and met with a neurological specialist. After further evaluation, they felt it was best for me to sit out.”

Alex Bowman will race in Earnhardt’s place in New Hampshire.

Gordon retired after last season following a 23-year career with 93 wins in 797 starts. He won the first Brickyard 400 in 1994 and has won a record five Sprint Cup races at Indianapolis in 1994, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2014.

“He’s a four-time [Sprint Cup] champion with 93 wins — he’s not a bad person to think about to get in the car,” Hendrick Motorsports general manager Doug Duchardt told ESPN Friday morning. “This week, [Gordon is] in France. … If Dale is not able to go at Indianapolis, we’ll put Jeff Gordon in the car.”

It remains unclear when Earnhardt will return to racing.

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