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Dale Earnhardt Jr. to miss Charlotte, Kansas races after suffering a concussion in Talladega crash

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss this weekend's Bank of America 500 at the Charlotte Motor Speeedway and next week's event at the Kansas Speedway after being diagnosed with a concussion. NASCAR's most popular driver suffered the injury in the massive 25-car accident on the last lap of Sunday's event at the Talladega Superspeedway.

Regan Smith will drive the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in place of Earnhardt. Smith became available following the Talladega race, his last in Furniture Row Racing's No. 78 Chevrolet. He was originally slated to take over the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, vacated by Kurt Busch who replaced him in the No. 78 car starting this weekend.

Earnhardt, who turned 38 Wednesday, had not missed a race since competing in the 1999 season finale at the Atlanta Motor Speedway and joining the Sprint Cup Series full time the following season. He previously suffered a concussion in a crash at the Auto Club Speedway in April 2002 and hid the injury from NASCAR officials. It finally came to light that fall. He was injured again in a wreck at Dover the following September.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.