MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 6, 2000) Rusty Wallace said Thursday he would miss the first mass test of Ford's 2000 Taurus NASCAR Winston Cup car next Monday and Tuesday at Talladega Superspeedway. However, Wallace said his absence will be due to previously scheduled sessions he must take in Arizona to maintain his private pilot's license, not due to a broken shoulder he suffered in a snow skiing accident last month.
"Physically, I'm in fine shape and ready to go," said the driver of Penske Racing South's Miller Lite Ford. "But, the jet flight training out in Tucson has been on the schedule for six months now. I'll be out in Tucson Jan. 9th through the 14th for the annual recurrent training."
Wallace said long-time Penske test pilot Buddy Baker would drive his cars for the test at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. The test is the first time the majority of Ford's teams will be at one facility together to test the new cars. Additional tests are scheduled at Daytona International Speedway Jan. 12-13 and Jan. 20-21, which is the "mandatory" Ford manufacturer's test prior to Speedweeks 2000.
"I feel like I'm a hundred percent right now and I'll be back in the car for the Daytona testing that we have scheduled for the 20th and 21st of the month," Wallace said.
Wallace and his sons Greg and Stephen were skiing on the night of Dec. 17 on the Sugar Mountain slopes near their Banner Elk, N.C., mountain home, when the injury occurred.
"I had a big-time crash on the skis and when I got up I knew I'd hurt my shoulder," said the 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup champion. "When the boys and I got back to our place, I told Patti (wife) that we'd had a great time all except the fact that I'd broken my shoulder. She asked me how I knew that and I told her that I'd gotten that nauseous feeling you get when you break something when I got up from the fall.
"I didn't want to make a big deal out of it and I didn't even go have it checked out at the hospital until the next day. They did the X-rays and confirmed what I already thought -- that I had a hairline fracture to my right shoulder blade.
"Before the rumor mill gets things turned out of hand and they have me down for the count off in some remote hospital somewhere, I thought I'd better address the situation.
"I have, and there you have it."