Truex Says Fractured Wrist Won't Slow Him
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on August 30, 2013 | 6:05 P.M. EST
Martin Truex Jr. was seventh fastest in Friday's practice session despite driving with a fractured wrist. (Photo: Getty Images)
HAMPTON, Ga. - Martin Truex Jr. says he was mad after crashing last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway because he knew he was injured.
“I knew what we have on the line,’’ said Truex, who is trying to make this year’s Chase.
His thought after the accident was “this can’t be happening.’’
Truex, who tentatively holds a Wild Card spot, suffered a scaphoid fracture and sprain in his right wrist. He said the injury should heal in about six weeks. If it doesn’t heal properly, he might have a screw inserted in the offseason.
Truex said after Friday’s practice session - he was seventh fast, spending the entire session in qualifying trim - that his wrist felt fine. He said he was “99 percent’’ sure he’ll run all of Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Scott Speed will be on standby.
Truex said his biggest challenge was that his fingers hurt when he shifted gears. He said he he doesn’t have any other issues driving the car. He gripped a steering wheel when he had his cast put on so it could be molded in a way that didn’t impact his driving style. He says he still has a tight grip on the steering wheel.
He faces this challenge after being collected in a multi-car crash late in last weekend’s race at Bristol.
What he believes happened in the crash, after reviewing it and watching in-car footage, is that he hit the wall with the right front as Kevin Harvick’s car hit him in the left front. That snapped the wheel and injured Truex.
“It was one of those weird instances where everything happens that you don’t want to,’’ he said. “It just ripped the wheel out of my hand. It happened so fast. It looked like I tried to get my hand out of there but just didn’t do it quick enough.’’
Truex admits he was nervous before Friday’s practice because “I’ve never drove hurt before.’’
Crew chief Chad Johnston had the team focus on qualifying setup the entire session so that Truex ran fewer laps and gave the wrist as much rest as possible. Truex ran 11 laps in Friday’s practice. That was the fewest laps run among drivers in the top 15 in speed.
Now that Truex knows he can race with the cast, the focus turns to keeping his spot for the Chase. He clinched a Chase spot last year at this race when he finished fourth.
“This doesn’t change anything for us,’’ said Truex, who is 14th in the points but holds a Wild Card spot because of his Sonoma win. “We’re going to race these next two races as hard as we can and try to get ourselves in that Chase and we’ll do whatever that takes."