Dale Earnhardt, Jr. cleared to return to racing

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CONCORD, N.C. (AP) – NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr., who missed the final 18 races of last season because of a concussion, has been medically cleared to return next year.

Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday that Earnhardt will take part in the season-opening Daytona 500.

The 42-year-old driver completed 185 laps Wednesday at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. In addition to the on-track test, which was observed by NASCAR, the driver has logged more than 15 hours in a racing simulator during his recovery.

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