Wilson to sit out rest of 2011 UPDATE
Justin Wilson, who broke his back during practice at Mid-Ohio in August, has been cleared to return to racing.
09/22/11 Over a month ago, Justin Wilson, pilot of the No. 22 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing entry, was involved in a single-car incident in practice for the Honda Indy 200. During the Saturday morning session in Mid-Ohio, Wilson ran off on the exit of Turn 1. As a result, he dropped two wheels off the asphalt and then went hopping through the grass, which then sent the car airborne.
Wilson sustained an anterior compression fracture of the fifth vertebra, which has kept him out of the car for the remainder of the season.
Nearly six weeks after the incident, Wilson is on the fast track to recovery and is back into training. "If I think back to how I felt immediately afterwards, and compare that with what I can do now, it's been great progress. It started to get less painful after the first two weeks and a couple of weeks ago I was able to raise my arms above my head for the first time. Now I'm in the swimming pool every day and doing some upper body exercises, so things are starting to feel normal again," commented Wilson.
During the 12-week recovery process, Wilson has had to be treated by bracing. Even though the back brace provided by Dr. Terry Trammell at OrthoIndy has been pretty uncomfortable, it was key to Justin's recovery. "Now I know what a turtle feels like! But it's been worth the discomfort knowing that I'm going about the recovery the right way," continued Wilson.
While Wilson might be fit enough to get in the car for the final race in Las Vegas on October 16th, he doesn't want to take any chances. "I might be fit enough to drive at Vegas, but for the sake of one race, when I'm not in contention for anything in the championship, it just doesn't make sense. Jumping in the car after 11 and a bit weeks isn't the right way to see if my back is 100% healed or not," stated Wilson.
Sitting on the sidelines has been hard, but getting back to training is making each day go faster. "It's obviously been frustrating not being able to drive the No. 22 car. I felt we'd turned the corner on a disappointing start to the season and had genuine hopes of being up near the front in the second half of the year. But it won't be long now until pre-season testing starts and I can focus on 2012."
Stayed tuned for an announcement on Wilson's replacement for the final two races of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.