DALE EARNHARDT JR. , NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Note: Dale Jr. turned over the wheel to relief driver John Andretti on lap 52. The actual driver change took 1:22. The full stop was 1:42. Andretti pitted again to readjust and re-index...
DALE EARNHARDT JR. , NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
Note: Dale Jr. turned over the wheel to relief driver John Andretti on lap 52. The actual driver change took 1:22. The full stop was 1:42. Andretti pitted again to readjust and re-index the wheel. Junior doesn't have 100 percent mobility in his left leg. While sitting in the car, he is unable to stretch it out all the way, which creates cramping and the leg falls asleep. The No. 8 Chevy was then black-flagged by NASCAR for not maintaining minimum speed on the race track. The cause was a broken front sway bar.
JADE GURSS , BUDWEISER TEAM REPRESENTATIVE:
"Two weeks of inactivity have weakened his muscles enough that in a prone position, though he was comfortable, it also made the nerves in his legs more sensitive to becoming numb or essentially going to sleep on him. He didn't feel like he had a real feel for the brake pedal or the gas pedal. Rather than risk it, when we got that yellow flag, he felt like it was time to come in. Once the Adrenalin dropped, I think the pain really started to set in and that why they (EMS) got him on the cart and took him out of there (Junior was sitting normally on the golf cart).
"Junior was complaining early on about the car. He said it was loose. John went out and we think there was a broken sway bar in the front. They brought the car back to the garage and they're changing that. We were hopeful he could go the whole way, but we were also hopeful he wouldn't try to be Superman. He's bright enough to know the bigger picture of the final 10 races. Really, that was why he would rather be safe than sorry.
"He hasn't complained about pain at all. The reason for the limp is like the muscles in his skin feel like they were tightening up. If you get a bad sunburn, it feels like your skin is shrinking. They (the burns) are healing as expected, but the feel to him is very much a tightness because he's got small burns above and below the knee. It makes it hard for him to flex his knee (on his left leg). He joked on Friday about walking around like an old man. It's just because he has such muscle soreness it's hard for him to straighten his knee and to walk normally. He's comfortable in the car. That's why we were hopeful he could go quite a ways.
"The doctor feels that with his legs out in the seat, it's really not the position but
the muscles going numb. The nerve endings apparently are what the doctor feels aren't getting the blood flow."
DALE EARNHARDT JR:
"The car wasn't running too well. And I thought if we was gonna make a change, we should make it then. I could have run the rest of the way, but the car was so bad there really wasn't no use of me being in there wasting my time.
"(I figured) I should be out of the car trying to get better. I think I'll be able to go to next week's race without any problem."
"We had a terrible racecar today so there wasn't any use in me being in there flying around in it."
(HOW DID YOU FEEL?) "I felt fine. The bumps hurt a little bit but my foot was going to sleep. I haven't been using it a lot -- I haven't been standing on it much and it just goes to sleep and cramps up real easy."
"I'm just really disappointed that things are going like they're going. I wish that this thing would heal up a little faster, but it just takes time, I guess."
(IS IT EMOTIONALLY HARD TO GET OUT OF THE CAR THIS QUICKLY?) "It depends on how good it was driving and it was driving pretty bad this weekend and last week. I hated more giving it to the guys I was giving it to than to get out of it.
"We threw John in there and he ain't had a lap this weekend. The sway bar bolt was missing and the car was rolling over and spinning out on him, and I just hate it for him.
"I hated to put Martin in that situation last weekend (because) I know the car wasn't that great. But I just didn't really have any business trying to run it and hopefully we'll come to Indy and be able to get through it."