Earnhardt cleared to race

Posted: October 25, 2012

DALE EARNHARDT JR. was cleared Tuesday for this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway after missing the last 2 weeks to recover from a pair of concussions.

NASCAR's most popular driver was examined by neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty 1 day after he ran 123 laps at half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga. Petty monitored Earnhardt during Monday's test at Gresham.

"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."

Petty sidelined Earnhardt after the driver went to see him complaining of a lingering headache following a 25-car accident on the last lap of the Oct. 7 race at Talladega. Petty diagnosed Earnhardt with a concussion, and said Earnhardt also suffered one in an Aug. 29 crash during a tire test at Kansas that went untreated.

The injury snapped Earnhardt's streak of 461 consecutive starts, the fifth-longest active streak in the Sprint Cup Series, and ended his shot to win the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

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.

Pro Basketball * 

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki said he's encouraged after the first knee surgery of his career but says a timetable for his return is "pretty ridiculous to talk about." Nowitzki walked gingerly but without a noticeable limp, 4 days after arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right knee. Coach Rick Carlisle said the 11-time All-Star was expected to miss 6 weeks.

* An economic study prepared for the Virginia Beach Development Authority suggests an unnamed NBA team could move to Virginia as soon as next year by playing its first two seasons in various arenas around the state while a permanent home is built near the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Virginia Beach is considering whether to build an 18,500-seat arena in hopes of luring an NBA or NHL team to the state's largest city. If built, city officials say a team could begin playing in it in the fall of 2015.

Sport Stops * 

Retired Norwegian rider Steffen Kjaergaard, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, admitted using banned performance-enhancing drugs. He said he had used EPO and cortisone, and was immediately suspended from his job at the Norwegian Cycling Federation. In another development, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, John Fahey, said cycling's world body will not regain credibility until officials who presided over the drug-tainted Armstrong era are removed from the sport.

* The British government said the London Olympics cost about $600 million (400 million pounds) less than expected. The final financial report for the games projects that the cost will be $14.285 billion from an original budget of $14.878 billion.

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