Report: Jeff Gordon in line to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Brickyard 400

By Jesse Reed
Nov 22, 2015; Homestead, FL, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon (24) talks to the media after the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Gordon could come out of retirement next weekend to race the Brickyard 400 if Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t recovered from concussion symptoms in time for the race.

Earnhardt has already pulled out of this weekend’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after realizing he was experiencing concussion symptoms on Wednesday. He will be replaced by Alex Bowman for this race, and if he is not cleared by next Wednesday for the Brickyard 400, then Gordon will take his place, per ESPN’s Bob Pockrass.

Of course, despite retiring last year, Gordon is a prime choice as a replacement driver.

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

Earnhardt, who suffered two concussions in 2012, isn’t going to be rushed back into action.

“The most important thing is for this process to play out for him to feel better,” Duchardt said. “At the end of all that, what’s the right thing to do, that will become clear when more knowledge is gained as how he is feeling.”

As big a draw as Earnhardt is, perhaps even more people would tune in next weekend if Gordon comes back from retirement. The circumstances of his potential return to the track are not what anyone would wish for, but seeing him back in the No. 24 car would certainly send chills down our spines.

Adding to the excitement would be the fact that Gordon has been exceptionally successful at Brickyard, winning five times and averaging a 10th place finish dating back to 1994.