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NASCAR to order drivers to undergo preseason baseline concussion testing beginning in 2014

  • 044a3a106289c723400f6a7067008933.jpg

    Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) gets service during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013. Earnhardt was runner-up for the fourth time this year, Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, finishing behind Jamie McMurray. The race finished under caution after a last-lap crash. (AP Photo/Jay Sailors) (The Associated Press)

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    Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., watches from the Grand National Garage as his crew works on his car during practice for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Jay Sailors) (The Associated Press)

NASCAR will mandate baseline concussion testing for its drivers starting next season.

NASCAR only recommended the testing this season, but indicated to drivers that a preseason baseline screening could become mandatory as early as 2014. The baseline will be used to measure against test results after a driver has crashed when diagnosing a concussion.

The baseline testing will be performed through the widely-used neurocognitive assessment ImPACT test, which evaluates an athlete's verbal and visual memory, processing speed and reaction time.

NASCAR said during Daytona Speedweeks it had identified 32 concussions in its three national series since 2004. Three were suffered in 2012, and one cost Dale Earnhardt Jr. two races last year.