Kyle Larson still in hospital (2nd update)

UPDATE NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson has been released from a Charlotte hospital and is going through the process of gaining clearance to return to competition, according to a statement from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

Larson, 22, fainted during a fan appearance Saturday while at Martinsville Speedway for Sunday's running of the STP 500. After an initial evaluation at a local hospital, Larson was transported to a Charlotte facility for further testing.

"After extensive testing and observation over the last few days, Kyle Larson was released from the hospital last night and has finished up final tests today," the CGR statement read. "He is currently waiting for final doctor recommendations in order to clear him to return to all NASCAR related activities."

According to a NASCAR official, Larson has not yet been medically cleared to resume NASCAR racing activities.

Larson qualified seventh for the race on Friday and had taken part in two practice sessions Saturday before the scheduled autograph appearance on the grounds of the speedway.

NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Regan Smith was called upon to fill in for the team during Larson’s absence. The former Sprint Cup driver finished 16th.

Larson won the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award for the Sprint Cup Series. He posted 17 top-10 and eight top-five finishes while driving the team's No. 42 Chevrolet, and finished 17th in points after just missing qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

This season, he has two top-10s through his first five starts and was 18th in points. He dropped to 24th with the missed start.

Larson is the third driver sidelined this season for medical reasons.

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch continues to recuperate from a broken right leg and fractured left foot sustained in a crash during the season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona.

Michael Waltrip Racing driver Brian Vickers missed the first two Sprint Cup events following off-season corrective heart surgery. He returned for two races, then announced a leave of absence following the recurrence of blood clot issues and is expected to be sidelined for three months while he takes blood thinners. NASCAR

03/30/15 UPDATE As of 6:00pm/et Monday [March 30th], #42-Kyle Larson remains in a Charlotte hospital, where tests are ongoing to determine why he fainted during an autograph session Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. A spokesperson for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates told FOX Sports 1 reporter Alan Cavana that the team hoped Larson would be released sometime Monday night. The team spokesman said so far all of the tests have come back negative and that Larson is feeling well and in good spirits. Larson missed Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, where his seat was filled by Regan Smith, who finished 16th. With six races complete on the season, Larson is 24th in points. FoxSports

Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson

03/30/15 Kyle Larson watched Sunday's NASCAR race on a laptop in a hospital after failing to get medical clearance to drive after fainting during an autograph session. Larson was in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was taken for further testing. "He's good. No change since he woke up from fainting," team owner Chip Ganassi said from the IndyCar Series season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida. All tests have come back negative, and the team maintains Larson feels fine.

But doctors at Carolina's Medical Center, where Larson traveled to by helicopter Saturday night after leaving Martinsville Memorial Hospital, are giving him a battery of tests. Larson is also seeing a neurologist in North Carolina as a precaution.

"You are trying to do the right thing and you want to be safe, and you want to err on the side of safety," Ganassi said. "I want to respect the professionals and respect what they are saying, but we want to be realistic, too." Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurosurgeon who works closely with many NASCAR teams, has visited Larson. A member of NASCAR's care center team also has assisted. Associated Press

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