Burrell Goes Home

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Bobby Burrell, the front-tire changer for Ricky Rudd’s No. 28 Texaco-Havoline Taurus who was injured in a pit-road accident at Homestead-Miami Speedway nine days ago, was released from Carolina Medical Center Monday afternoon.

The 30-year-old Robert Yates Racing employee from Huntersville, N.C., will continue to recover from his injuries at home. He still has some minor dizziness and many bruises, but team officials say he is “in good spirits and looking forward to being home.”

Burrell was moved to Carolinas Medical Center on Friday of last week after spending several days in a Miami hospital following the accident, which occurred during the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 11.

The No. 28 team was in the midst of a pit stop when he was clipped by the No. 22 Dodge of Ward Burton. Burton was attempting to get back onto the track but was pinched in by other cars and inadvertently hit Burrell, another team member and a NASCAR official.

Burrell got the worst of the incident, suffering head injuries after being thrown into the pit wall.

“Bobby’s doing great,” said team owner Robert Yates during a press gathering at Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday. “Each day has been a big improvement, so I’m starting to feel like he’s going to be fine. He’s very clear-headed now.

“He’s very sharp and didn’t forget anything. After he woke up, he remembered everything, except what month it is and in racing, you really don’t do things by months.”

The accident and Burrell’s injuries have prompted some Winston Cup crews to wear helmets while performing pit stops on pit road. Yates’ two teams both wore helmets during Sunday’s NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“With what we saw and what we witnessed, it was a decision that each one of the crew guys made,” Yates said. “Some people said I made that decision, but it’s really the guys who were smart enough to say, ‘Hey, a helmet would have protected Bobby.’ That’s what why they’ll wear one from now on.”

Burrell will not be with the team when it travels to Loudon, N.H., for the season finale at New Hampshire International Speedway on Friday.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

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