ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — IndyCar has cleared Josef Newgarden to race at Road America on Sunday, two weeks after breaking his right collarbone in a scary crash at Texas.
Newgarden got the medical clearance after being evaluated following each of two practice sessions on Friday at the rural Wisconsin track.
“I think the clavicle will hold up all right,” Newgarden said in between practice sessions. “It’s a little sore, but I think it’ll be OK for the weekend.”
IndyCar’s medical personnel agreed in granting clearance to the driver in fourth place in the series standings . The 202-mile Kohler Grand Prix will mark IndyCar’s first race at Road America since 2007.
“I don’t want to miss out on anything,” Newgarden said. “We’ve got a shot at winning the championship and I’d like to keep that alive.”
He got hurt on June 12 at Texas after his car slammed on its side and slid along the frontstretch wall with the top of the cockpit exposed.
Newgarden also injured his wrist in the wreck. He said after the morning practice run that his collarbone held up relatively well, though both his hands hurt.
Not enough, apparently, to keep the right-handed Newgarden from an autograph session in between practice runs to sign copies of a new children’s book, “Josef, the Indy Car Driver.” A brace protected his right wrist.
Newgarden put in time in a simulator this week to test his injuries. He returned to the car for the first time since the wreck for practice on Friday. Newgarden had the 15th best combined average practice speed on the day at 139.088 mph.
The long straightaways at Road America should help ease pressure on the shoulder, as well as the variety of turns on the road course.
“If we were racing at Iowa (oval speedway) this weekend, I probably would not be in the car,” Newgarden said. “There’s too much loading on that side of the right shoulder. Here it’s mainly the left shoulder.”
He will have extra protection in the car on Sunday to help protect his right collarbone. He was also testing out braces for support in the car for his injured hand.
The toll on his body from braking, though, is not a serious issue, he said. Drivers must tap on the brakes more at the 14-turn Road America course than on an oval.
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