Saturday, May 12, 2012

Eric McClure answers questions surrounding 'Dega wreck

Credit: By Rainier Ehrhardt / Getty Images for NASCAR
It has been one week since Eric McClure was airlifted from Talladega Superspeedway and hospitalized for injuries sustained in a late crash in the Nationwide Series. Questions remained following the accident, such as what caused McClure to hit the wall so hard and if his injuries will sideline him for long. Both were answered Friday as he met with the media in Darlington.

"I'm doing OK, about as well as can be expected," he said. "Definitely sore and battling some things this week. I'm thankful to be here and certainly very thankful for the safety initiatives and everything NASCAR has done. There's certainly been an outpouring of support from fans and peers in the sport, and I'll be forever grateful for that."

McClure sat on the sidelines this weekend, suffering from a concussion and internal bruising, and is awaiting clearance to return to the track. Per NASCAR guidelines, McClure, after suffering a head injury such as a concussion, must be medically cleared by a NASCAR-approved neurosurgeon before returning to the track.

"I'll go back for evaluation next week. At this point, I'd say week to week," McClure said of his recovery.

While at home, McClure is spending his time with his loving wife Miranda and their four daughters, who are age 5 and under.

"There were some times with family when everything died down that made me understand how lucky I was and thankful I had a family like that. This week has been good. The 3-year-old brought stethoscopes in and said she'd make my heart better and try to rub the bruises. They've been really sweet."

But what caused McClure to hit the wall so hard? 

"I hit the brakes when I saw the smoke, and they just weren't there," McClure said. "It was a little bit of a heart-sinking feeling. It created the impression that I was speeding up or going faster than everyone when I hit, which obviously I was." His memory of the accident and what happened is vivid; after he hit the wall, not so much. His memory is scattered due to the head injury.

NASCAR has confirmed there was a brake failure in the No. 14 car, which resulted in the high speed at impact.

For McClure, the attention from fellow drivers, fans and media is something he is not used to. Finding some positives in the aftermath of the crash, he was excited to say that he met THE Jeff Gordon and even received a tweet from Mario Andretti who said, "really happy to see @ericmcclure out of the hospital. You are one tough dude!"

"So that must mean I'm really tough," McClure said, managing to laugh after an undoubtedly tough week. "There has been some good things to come out of everything this week. Evidently a lot of people have paid attention to this. We felt it's a neat opportunity and necessary to come and let anyone know we're OK, and we'll get back as soon as possible."

NASCAR fans far and near wish Eric McClure a speedy recovery and await his return to the track, thankful that this story has a happy ending. 

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