BUSCH: Charlotte II: Hank Parker Jr race summary

Parker Suffers sprained shoulder in Charlotte race; -driver of no. 36 GNC Live Well Dodge plans to compete at Memphis. CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 14) - NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) driver Hank Parker Jr. suffered a sprained left shoulder during Saturday's...

Parker Suffers sprained shoulder in Charlotte race; -driver of no. 36 GNC Live Well Dodge plans to compete at Memphis.

CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 14) - NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) driver Hank Parker Jr. suffered a sprained left shoulder during Saturday's Little Trees 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

The injury occurred during a restart around lap 99 of the 200-lap event. As the field came to the green flag, it appeared that a competitor might have missed a shift, causing his car to drastically slow down. Those drivers directly behind the competitor were unable to check up in time, setting off a multi-car accident that Parker was unable to avoid.

Parker hit another car in the side, causing the steering wheel on his No. 36 GNC Live Well Dodge Intrepid to jerk violently. Parker's left hand slipped and got caught in one of the spokes of the wheel as it came around. The motion dislocated Parker's left shoulder, leaving him unable to shut off the motor on his wounded race machine.

"I looked down at my left arm and knew that something wasn't right," Parker said as he was being examined after the incident. "I wasn't able to reach up and hit the switches to cut the motor off. When I finally got my arm to move, my shoulder popped right back into place. It hurt like the dickens. I can tell you that. I thought I had broken my arm for a minute.

"It was just one of those freak racing accidents. We weren't going very fast on the restart. My hand just slipped and put my arm in the wrong place at the wrong time. I'm just happy that it isn't more serious."

After being examined and released from the infield care center, Parker was driven by private vehicle to nearby University Hospital. X-Rays taken at the hospital showed no damage to the shoulder, and Parker was diagnosed with a shoulder sprain. The driver was outfitted with an arm sling and released.

He will be reevaluated by an orthopedic doctor on Monday afternoon.

"I plan on racing at Memphis," Parker said after his release from the hospital. "The doctor said I'll be sore for awhile, just because I probably pulled the muscles around my shoulder in the accident. We'll know more on Monday, but right now, I have every intention of being behind the wheel next weekend."

The accident and injury brought a disappointing end to what had been a promising weekend for the GNC Live Well Racing team.

In the first practice session on Friday morning, Parker and his crew managed the seventh-fastest lap time of the session.

The team backed that up with a 12th-place qualifying run, and turned the 14th-fastest time of the final practice session on Friday afternoon. Having finished seventh in last October's NBS event at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Parker and his team were understandably upbeat about their chances in Saturday's event.

In the early stages of Saturday's race, Parker fought a loose handling condition on his Dodge Intrepid. On the first pit stop, the team made an air pressure adjustment and pulled a spring rubber out of the right rear of Parker's machine to try to alleviate the problem.

In spite of the handling problems, Parker kept himself in and around the top-20 before the accident that ended his day.

"I think we could have finished in the top-15," Parker said. "The car wasn't quite as good as it was in last year's race, but we were going to keep digging and adjusting on it until we worked our way into the top-10. I'm sorry we didn't get to finish. I was all ready to wheel my car to pit road after the accident and let the guys fix me up and get me back out there. My shoulder just decided it wasn't going to cooperate. I hate it for the crew. They worked really hard to get this car ready, and they were back there fixing it in the garage while I was getting checked out in the care center. I hated to have to tell them I couldn't continue."

With Parker unable to finish the race, the GNC Live Well team was credited with a 40th-place finish. Parker remains 14th in the NBS standings.

The GNC Live Well team will head to Memphis Motorsports Park in Tennessee for the 30th event on the 2002 NBS schedule. The Sam's Town 250 will air live on NBC and MRN (Motor Racing Network) affiliates, on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 2 p.m. EDT.


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Drivers Hank Parker Jr.