How are you feeling?
"I was really excited to come out here to Dover, it's kind of like my hometown track and this is the first time I get to see it up close. Just definitely disappointed to not be out there driving, for sure. Boost is jumping on again for next year. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do the races this year but they're on for the same amount of races for next year. Not giving the equivalency of NASCAR to start out at Daytona is definitely a disappointment, we won't be able to run the entire Nationwide Series, but basically looking to see how many we can do. I'm trying to run as many Nationwide, as many K&N — as many of any kind of car races I can just to get as much experience as I can and driving. I haven't finalized all the deals for next year. I'm definitely hoping to get more than less."
How is recovery going for you?
"Right now, recovery has been going slow but really good, I guess. I get the pins out on Monday, which is always nice. Hopefully all the pins come out and start getting in the pool and be able to get down to the shop a little bit more, drive the iRacing simulator — do whatever I can to try to get back driving cars as quick as possible."
Are you still looking at 20 races for next season?
"The goal is definitely the same, to race as much as possible. We'll just have to work out sponsorship for after the first couple and hopefully those races will go well and we'll be able to race more than 20. If not, definitely looking forward to running as much of the K&N Series as possible. I haven't really had anything finalized yet, but my goal is just to get in as many cars as possible."
Does the disappointment from not being able to make your NASCAR start this year still linger?
"Definitely sitting on the sidelines here and not racing, every time I watch a race the disappointment is there. On a positive note, it's a small positive, but I'm able to watch all the race — I'm able to watch all the drivers. I actually know a lot more about who runs up front, who runs aggressive, who doesn't, which drivers stay up there at the end, which drivers tend to qualify well. It's been a great learning experience, but I would have much rather learning on the track, of course."
What are your plans for races at the beginning of 2012?
"As of right now, I have not looked at doing anything at Daytona. I was talking with Ty (Norris, MWR general manager) and really as soon as I get these pins out, I'm going to spend a lot more time at the race shop and really figure out what we need to do to get this program as up to speed as quickly as possible."
Do you plan to test in December?
"Yes, that is correct. The doctors say hopefully I'll be walking in about a month and I figure as soon as I can walk, I can drive. Put me in coach."
Has this injury experience had any influence on the fun and crazy stunts you like to do?
"Definitely, to be perfectly honest, that was supposed to be my exit from X-Games. Not exactly the exit I was looking for, but it was still an exit. For me, we finished filming Nitro Circus 3D movie which Waltrip Racing had already helped us with a lot of the projects we did along the way. Kept us all more safe than we would have done on our own with building some of the stuff. For me, that movie is done filming — I have to do a little bit of press for that starting next year before it comes out in theaters. But other than that, my action sports — not to say my action sports career is done — but as far as anything taking risks, I'm definitely going to be in this car and trying to do the best that I can to put my best foot forward. It was the most disappointing thing in my life, not only to have myself but to have an entire team that was waiting for me and banking on me being in the car and all those guys I'm seeing around the track, they're all on different teams and it's tough. Not only did we lose some of the top guys but a lot of friends had to find other work. Definitely something that took to heart and something I don't ever want to have happen again."
What will your rehab process entail?
"Basically trying to get the motion back and the strength back in that ankle. Like I said, I get the pins out on Monday and I figure as soon as I can get in that pool, the better. Just minimal weight bearing at first. It will be a lot of bicycling, a lot of pool, a lot of stuff where you're not really on the foot. Hopefully getting that motion back so it won't be any hindrance when I get in the car."
What limitations have you experienced since the accident in July?
"Without a doubt it's been really frustrating, but fortunately or unfortunately I was in a lot of pain for the first month, I really just had — it hurt to have the foot down so I was watching a lot of NASCAR. For better, for worse it was a good learning experience. Mark (Zupan) — I don't know if you guys have ever heard of Zupan, have you ever watched the movie Murderball — he got me a hand cycle so I just started on the hand cycle and actually had surgery on my knuckle as well so I just started to be able to use my hand. This last week I got on that and been doing a lot — as much as I can and hopefully as soon as these pins come out, I'll be able to do a lot more."
Do you know what rehab you'll be doing and how intensive it will be?
"I'm sure it will start out with an hour or two a day and it will work up from there. Basically my only job right now is to get that ankle healthy and learn a little bit about the cars. We'll be doing physical therapy as much as that ankle will tolerate and as much as it will help it without making it swell too much. I can't exactly answer that question without knowing how much it's going to swell, but we'll be working hard on it."
Do you plan to never compete on motorcycles again at some point?
"No, I didn't see that, I just will not be on it this next year and do not plan on being on it for X-Games ever. But, at the same time, motorcycles is something that I always do for training. I always will be riding in the woods, I'll always be riding. Whether I'll be riding at a competitive level, I sincerely doubt it, but with Red Bull and a lot of the stunts they have, in years to come I'm not going to say that I'm not going to never do motorcycle stuff again. It's who I am, but at the same time this is my number one priority for this next year, next two years without a doubt and we can reassess then what life is going to bring."
Will your ankle ever be 100 percent healed?
"It's really hard to put a percentage. My dad has a fused wrist and it doesn't really slow him down at all. I've got most of the bones across the top of the foot are fused, but your foot doesn't really move that much. I think it will be — the feeling on the bottom of the foot is 100 percent. Toes work great, everything works good. Ankle, joint itself works well, so for driving a car, I will be 100 percent. For riding a motorcycle, I might lose a little bit of that elasticity in the top of the foot. Whether that will affect anything, I doubt it but we'll work hard to make sure it doesn't."
Was there any hesitation to make your second attempt at the X-Games after you first fell?
"Yeah, one of the best ideas at the time, worst decision I made in ever pretty much. The thing was with the trick, every time the first one out, I would usually over cook. I'd over flip, I'd under spin. It was the same thing I did two years ago. I was eight for 10 in the foam pit, but usually I would mess up the first one. So, when I landed going right again didn't affect the score again at all, but I was pretty sore. I said, 'You know what, let's use this adrenaline. Let's do this right away like we normally do on the foam pit and we'll stick this next one and I'll have confidence and I'll go into it for the one that counted with more confidence than just landing on my side again. Unfortunately, I got a little too excited and overshot it. Again, it was one of the biggest failures that I've experienced. That was very disappointing."