Dale Earnhardt Jr. chose to sit out yesterday at New Hampshire International Speedway, taking another day to allow burns on his legs and face to heal while allowing rookie Martin Truex Jr. to qualify his car in Loudon, N.H.

Earnhardt plans to get into his No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet for practice today and will start tomorrow's Siemens 300 to earn the NASCAR Nextel Cup championship points before giving up the driver's seat to Truex.

"We just have to wait and see how this plays itself out," said Earnhardt, who looked uncomfortable with a gauze bandage wrapped tightly around his neck during a news conference yesterday.

"Unfortunately, after the wreck last weekend, I won't be able to run the entire race," he said.

"I'm really disappointed. I've never been in this situation before. But I'm glad that Martin's going to be able to do it. He's a good driver and a good friend."

Truex, who drives a Busch Series car for Chance 2 Motorsports, co-owned by Earnhardt and his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt, and is leading the points race in that series, will be racing in his first Cup event when he relieves his boss tomorrow.

Earnhardt suffered second-degree burns on the inside of his legs and on his neck and chin when he crashed his Corvette C5-R on Sunday during a warmup for an American Le Mans Series sports-car race in Sonoma, Calif.

The son of the late Dale Earnhardt was suddenly surrounded by a ball of flame but managed to unhook his belts and scramble from the car before safety workers arrived.

-- From News Services