DSR's Knudsen happy to be back for Pomona finale

DSR CREW MEMBER KNUDSEN RETURNS TO ACTION AT NHRA FINALS POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 11, 2008) -- Following three months of recuperation from a freak accident at Maple Grove Raceway in August, Don Schumacher Racing crew member Michael Knudsen is back...

DSR CREW MEMBER KNUDSEN RETURNS TO ACTION AT NHRA FINALS

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 11, 2008) -- Following three months of recuperation from a freak accident at Maple Grove Raceway in August, Don Schumacher Racing crew member Michael Knudsen is back working with driver Gary Scelzi and his Mopar/Oakley Dodge Funny Car teammates at this weekend's NHRA Finals.

Knudsen returned to the race track for the first time since suffering second- and third-degree burns when several propane tanks used for a portable concession stand were knocked over and a gas line ruptured. Knudsen reached to turn off a valve on one of the tanks when a pilot light on a gas grill is believed to have ignited the propane escaping from the ruptured line.

"It's been really tough to watch the races on television and not be there with the crew guys and helping out," said Knudsen, who was working as a clutch technician on Gary Scelzi's Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car at the time of the incident. "I'm really glad to be back and hopefully we can get a win for Gary in his last race."

Rehabilitation went well for the 28-year-old Fisher, Ind., resident. "Things went slow at first," he said. "I spent 13 days in the hospital and I had to learn how to stand and walk again and that was tough at first. Most of my therapy consisted of working on the treadmill and the stair climber and using resistance bands to work my muscles back up. It took a full month to get my range of motion back and as soon as I had that then I developed a normal therapy routine that lasts a couple hours a day.

"Things are much better now. I'm a little tight in the mornings but I get up and stretch and I wear compression garments every day, and Ill be wearing those for the next six months. There's not really a whole lot of pain unless I'm standing for a long period, but if I'm walking around, the blood is flowing and I'm doing OK. Every day gets a little better."

After working at the DSR shop in Brownsburg, Ind., for the past five weeks, Knudsen was elated to be at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series finale. "I love being back out here again. I have a dream job and I love coming to work every day. These guys are like family and some of them are my best friends. It's great just to be back out here with them.

"I am looking forward to a few months' more of therapy before I return full-time on the NHRA circuit with DSR in 2009."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi