It had been an extended six weeks of sitting on the sofa beneath the air conditioner for Chase Elliott earlier than his return to the NOCO 400 at Martinsville Speedway in mid-April. The NASCAR Cup Series hottest driver sustained a damaged left leg throughout a snowboarding accident in early March and had simply been methodically constructing himself again as much as a return.
Many anticipated Elliott to have a troublesome time on the course with the breaking the course requires and the stress that might place on the repaired leg. However he confirmed no rust, ending tenth after beginning the race within the twenty fourth place. He adopted that up with a 14th place end on the GEICO 500 this previous weekend in Talladega. They’ve been nice momentum builders because the Hendrick Motorsports driver appears to proceed enhancing heading into the summer time months.
Whereas he nonetheless has some work left to do in growing the energy and vary of movement within the leg, Elliott is grateful to be again competing. Lately being added to NASCAR’s 75 Best Drivers listing, he shared his suggestions for getting again on the observe with M&F.
1. Focus On What You Can Management
I’m a fairly life like particular person. I knew I used to be harm earlier than I even acquired the X-rays. I had a fairly good feeling I wasn’t racing that weekend. I had never hurt myself or needed to have surgical procedure in my life. It was uncharted territory for me however the best way I checked out it was that I couldn’t do something about it as soon as it occurred and when you get the truth of what the damage is, how lengthy surgical procedure goes to be, and what the restoration goes to seem like, I simply actually began listening to the docs and placing in as a lot effort and work in on my finish to ensure I stayed on schedule. I believe I’m most likely a number of weeks out of being fully cellular and again to regular because it pertains to flexibility and athletic motion — actually getting round and building strength back in my leg and knee. It’s in a extremely good place and I’ve been pleased with that. I’m simply working by means of it.
My precedence was getting again within the automotive and simply getting again to work from that standpoint. It was additionally about getting in place from a mobility and a bone-healing standpoint. I can’t actually do a lot about that half, however I can actually work onerous at constructing a few of that muscle again that was dormant for a month or so. However my important precedence was getting again within the automotive and with the ability to carry out as I really feel l usually would. I used to be capable of get again within the automotive [in Martinsville] and that was nice. I believe I’ve extra energy to construct again, and my mobility and vary of movement are going to proceed to be labored on.
2. Placing the Leg To The Take a look at
I’d say most common vehicles that individuals drive and use the throttle and the break with their proper foot whereas the left foot doesn’t do an entire lot. For me, driving within the race automotive, I brake with my left foot and I’m utilizing that foot for the break and the clutch. Granted, we don’t use the clutch very a lot — primarily simply to brake — however there may be a whole lot of brake strain like in Martinsville. I knew again when the damage occurred, how the schedule lined up, I’d return someplace round Martinsville or Talladega and the physician wasn’t going to let me go till then. I went to the simulator and simply tried to place myself in these conditions of placing strain on the brakes and going it constantly, repeating lap instances, and repeating that for an extended time period. All these issues factored into getting the go-ahead to run final weekend.
3. Bracing for the Summer season
Whereas leg energy is vital, extra vital, is the surroundings you race in. From a warmth standpoint, it’s very heat within the automotive and your coronary heart fee may be very excessive particularly should you’re in a compromised place otherwise you’re pushing very onerous. You continue to don’t have a whole lot of bodily motion and that’s often one thing you don’t see in a whole lot of sports activities or if you’re within the fitness center. In case your coronary heart fee is up, you often have a whole lot of movement, so it’s a singular factor for us. Being comfy in these environments once more was massive as a result of it’s onerous to coach for that, particularly if you’ve been sitting on the sofa for weeks within the AC. It was good to get again within the swing go issues and get hit within the face. I believe getting again used to that’s big as we get into the summer time months.
4. Nonetheless Some Work Left To Do
The bodily remedy side has been constant since I’ve gotten harm. With my damage, the quad has a extremely onerous time firing. Throughout the first couple of weeks, I misplaced a whole lot of muscle mass within the quad as a result of I couldn’t flex it. It’s been a whole lot of quad-strengthening workouts, a whole lot of leg raises, and knee extensions. The second half is getting the mobility and the vary of movement again within the knee — on the bending facet and the straightening facet has been onerous for me. Usually, on a wholesome leg, your knee extends previous zero. You straighten it out and it will get all the best way to zero and also you get on the damaging facet if you’re standing together with your knees locked.
Getting that extension again was a giant piece of the puzzle and I’m nonetheless engaged on getting that full vary again and protecting it unfastened. Quad energy and vary of movement have been the 2 key factors of focus since I’ve gotten out of surgical procedure and that appears to get higher week by week. There have been massive steps being made by means of weeks 4, 5, and 6 mark. Now, we’re attending to these finer particulars on the backend, simply making an attempt to get that final little bit. Now that I’m at a spot the place I can drive once more, I can preserve engaged on the opposite issues as we go alongside to attempt to get again to 100% from an athletic standpoint.
5. A Little Assist Goes A Lengthy Approach
The followers have been extraordinarily supportive of me by means of this era and I’m grateful for his or her assist as we proceed to work by means of it. With my friends and different drivers reaching out, providing their assist, and catching up was actually cool as a result of they don’t have to do this. I assumed that claims quite a bit in regards to the surroundings we race in and that my opponents have sufficient respect to say one thing has been very significant. To my group on the No. 9 group to my teammates at Hendrick Motorsports on the store and the observe, it’s been a whole lot of nice assist, and persons are genuinely comfortable to have me again. It actually meant quite a bit.
You’ll be able to tune in to FS1 at 2 p.m. ET this Sunday, Apr. 30 to see Chase compete on the NASCAR Cup Collection “Würth 400” from Dover Motor Speedway.