CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 25, 2002) -- Schneider Electric driver Bobby Hamilton is doing his best to get back behind the wheel of his No. 55 Chevrolet. Not only is he going to countless hours of therapy every day, but he is also working with doctors...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 25, 2002) -- Schneider Electric driver Bobby Hamilton is doing his best to get back behind the wheel of his No. 55 Chevrolet. Not only is he going to countless hours of therapy every day, but he is also working with doctors to make two different devices that will protect his shoulder and wrist from future injuries. Meanwhile the team is gearing up for this weekend's race at Kansas Speedway by testing with interim driver Greg Biffle. At the same time, Hamilton is waiting on the rain to stop in Nashville, Tenn., so he can make some laps in one of his trucks to test the new shoulder and wrist devices.
Bobby, when do you think you will be back behind the wheel of the No. 55 Chevy?
"Right now I am projecting the Charlotte race. We can't take the chance to reinjure my shoulder. It's healing fine and is actually at 100 percent, but we take the chance that it's not strong enough to withhold pressure in a wreck. It's not worth taking the chance to ruin my career just for one race. But you never know, I might get up on Wednesday morning before Talladega with the crazy notion that I want to race that weekend.
"The team is getting things ready for someone else to fill in for Talladega. Jimmy (Elledge, crew chief) told me that he would wait and see what the doctors said first before he committed to running Talladega with Greg, or any other driver for that matter. We are testing next week at Greenville Pickens (S.C.) and we'll go from there.
"I know I'm ready to get back in that car. Every week I feel better. After every therapy session I know I'm one step closer to racing that car. The first week I was alright watching it on TV from home, but I must have been on some big pain medicine or something, because it's hard to do it now!"
What is your new safety device like for your shoulder and wrist?
"Actually they are pretty cool. There are no straps or anything, just a hard protective shield to cover my wrist. It was like a gel that they put on my wrist and then we put it in hot water. It got harder as it sat in the water. It's split at the top, but it takes two hands to pry it open so I can get my wrist out. The shoulder harness is like a shield. It was made by doctors that help hockey and football players recover from injuries. I'm going to use it at the test next week and see how it works."
Additional Note: NASCAR announced this afternoon that crew chief Jimmy Elledge is suspended for this weekend's race in Kansas due to a probation violation. As a result, car owner and renowned crew chief Andy Petree will be filling in for this weekend's Protection One 400 on the 1.5-mile tri-oval. In addition to the suspension, which ends Oct. 2, Elledge was fined $5,000 for unapproved air directional devices that were found last Friday during pre-qualifying inspection at Dover International Speedway.