It had been an extended six weeks of sitting on the sofa underneath the air conditioner for Chase Elliott earlier than his return to the NOCO 400 at Martinsville Speedway in mid-April. The NASCAR Cup Collection 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 will 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 be like to proceed bettering heading into the summer season 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. Not too long ago being added to NASCAR’s 75 Biggest Drivers listing, he shared his ideas for getting again on the observe with M&F.
1. Focus On What You Can Management
I’m a fairly real looking particular person. I knew I used to be damage earlier than I even acquired the X-rays. I had a fairly good feeling I wasn’t racing that weekend. I had by no means damage 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 medical doctors and placing in as a lot effort and work in on my finish to verify I stayed on schedule. I feel I’m most likely a couple of weeks out of being fully cell and again to regular because it pertains to flexibility and athletic motion — actually getting round and constructing energy again in my leg and knee. It’s in a extremely good place and I’ve been proud of 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 essential precedence was getting again within the automotive and having 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 feel 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 a complete 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’s a number 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 occasions, and repeating that for an extended time frame. All these issues factored into getting the go-ahead to run final weekend.
3. Bracing for the Summer time
Whereas leg energy is vital, extra vital, is the setting you race in. From a warmth standpoint, it’s very heat within the automotive and your coronary heart fee could be very excessive particularly if you happen to’re in a compromised place otherwise you’re pushing very onerous. You continue to don’t have a number of bodily motion and that’s normally one thing you don’t see in a number of sports activities or while you’re within the gymnasium. In case your coronary heart fee is up, you normally have a number of movement, so it’s a novel factor for us. Being snug in these environments once more was large as a result of it’s onerous to coach for that, particularly while 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 feel getting again used to that’s big as we get into the summer season months.
4. Nonetheless Some Work Left To Do
The bodily remedy facet has been constant since I’ve gotten damage. With my damage, the quad has a extremely onerous time firing. Inside the first couple of weeks, I misplaced a number of muscle mass within the quad as a result of I couldn’t flex it. It’s been a number of quad-strengthening exercises, a number 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 aspect and the straightening aspect has been onerous for me. Sometimes, 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 unfavorable aspect while 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 free. 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 large steps being made by means of weeks 4, 5, and 6 mark. Now, we’re attending to these finer particulars on the backend, simply attempting to get that final little bit. Now that I’m at a spot the place I can drive once more, I can hold 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 Manner
The followers have been extraordinarily supportive of me by means of this era and I’m grateful for his or her help as we proceed to work by means of it. With my friends and different drivers reaching out, providing their help, and catching up was actually cool as a result of they don’t have to do this. I assumed that claims so much in regards to the setting we race in and that my opponents have sufficient respect to say one thing has been very significant. To my workforce on the No. 9 group to my teammates at Hendrick Motorsports on the store and the observe, it’s been a number of nice help, and individuals are genuinely pleased to have me again. It actually meant so much.
You may 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.