Spencer Sits Out Michigan

Spencer to sit out at least one more race By Shawn A. Akers BROOKYLN, Mich. (Aug. 14, 1998) Jimmy Spencer has decided not to take any chances with his health. Not only will the driver of the No. 23 Team Winston Ford not race that car in...

Spencer to sit out at least one more race By Shawn A. Akers

BROOKYLN, Mich. (Aug. 14, 1998) Jimmy Spencer has decided not to take any chances with his health. Not only will the driver of the No. 23 Team Winston Ford not race that car in this Sunday's Pepsi 400 presented by DeVilbiss at Michigan Speedway, but he's also going to sit out next weekend's Goody's 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway as well.

Spencer is still feeling the effects of a concussion he suffered in a hard wreck during the Aug. 1 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Spencer said he's going on a week-to-week basis as to when he'll return behind the wheel of his Ford.

"I've come to the decision that I'm not gonna drive for the next couple of weeks because the head injury is bothering me a little bit," Spencer said during a press conference at his team hauler on Friday. "The thing is, it's my decision. What helped me make the decision was my family, my kids. My wife didn't say anything either way, but my kids said, 'Daddy, maybe you better heal up before you race again.'"

Spencer said he will see a specialist next week in Winston-Salem -- the same physician who saw Dale Earnhardt last year after his mysterious blackout at Darlington. Spencer said he could probably get clearance from a doctor to drive, but the decision to stay out of the race car was totally his. One of the biggest factors in the decision was that he continues to have headaches stemming from the concussion.

"I've got to go to another specialist and let them evaluate the x-ray and MRI," Spencer said. "My brain is not swelled, but I have headaches and it bothers me that I have them. I'll find out why I keep having these headaches and neck aches when I go see the specialist.

"If I knew I could get in the race car Sunday and finish the race and not get in trouble, I'd be in that car, you know I would. But there's no guarantee of that, so I'm not going to take the chance. There is no therapy. There are some things you can do. I'm going to talk to the doctor this week about it. Once I talk to them and they tell me which direction to go, then that's what I'll do. But there really is nothing."

Spencer said he looked to Indy Racing League driver Scott Sharp, who suffered the same type of injury, as an example of what to do.

"I don't know how to say it, but I think it's concussions, and a concussion, with the more studying you do and the more articles you read from the doctors, the neurologists, you think you're healed, but you really aren't healed," Spencer said. "You don't notice those things until you get back in the car, and you start questioning yourself.

"I think Scott Sharp said it best. He thought that he could get back in the car and do well and he went to Colorado last year and sat on the pole, he crashed. He realized right then and there and said, 'man, I ain't healthy.' He took time off and now look what he's doing. I think that the drivers themselves have to say to themselves that I don't feel 100 percent and I think that it could get me in trouble. And that's what I'm doing. That's the hardest decision I've had to make in a long, long, long time."

Spencer said Team Winston and team owner Travis Carter are 100 percent behind him, even if it means Spencer sitting out the rest of the 1998 campaign.

"Once again, I can't say enough for Travis and Team Winston," Spencer said. "I know they believe in Jimmy Spencer, and I know we would have been in the top-10 in Winston Cup points, and we're going to pass that up this year. But, I'm also going to be healthy when I get back in the car.

"The biggest thing is that they're more worried about Jimmy Spencer than anything else and that's special to me and my family. It hurts our race team, and we're going to come back. We're going to win before the year's over. Team Winston has a great opportunity to win before the year's over."

Frank Kimmel, a standout in the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series, practiced and qualified the No. 23 Team Winston Ford on Friday. His deal is a one-race deal, and it is not been determined who will drive the car next week at Bristol.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Boris Said drove the No. 23 Team Winston Ford in relief of Spencer last week in the Bud at the Glen at Watkins Glen International, and finished 20th.

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Boris Said , Jimmy Spencer , Scott Sharp , Frank Kimmel