I couldn’t honestly tell you how excited I was right now. I couldn’t tell you how much it meant to be getting onto the plane, sitting down in the seat and looking out, knowing where I was headed. I couldn’t tell you how much it meant to be landing, set for the race weekend ahead of us. This was just a trip to a track, but it meant so much for so many reasons.
Guess what? I finally got to bust out of “recovery jail”. I was allowed by everybody surrounding me who had been dictating my dos and don’ts to attend this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Can you see why I am excited now?
I wasn’t allowed to fully return to my position on the team, but I was allowed to attend the event and hang out with my guys as they tried to shake the recent string of bad luck. Chad had shared without letting the others know that I could help out with a couple of things, but everything was going to be limited. Given my current recovery and how I was doing, I was well enough to attend but not much beyond that. given that there was only three races remaining on the schedule, I was told to focus on recovering and set my full return back to next year.
With each passing day, it was getting easier. The stomach wound from the tube was healing accordingly, and I was able to now walk around with only a touch of pain here and there. The bruises from the belt had healed to where there was only a touch pain here and there, as well, but nothing that I could complain too severely about it.
The drugs were the worst part of the recovery part, though. I still had that nagging chest pain as everything was still working at healing from what had happened. Sometimes it worse than others, but it was enough that I couldn’t do any strenuous activities, which meant no running, working-out or anything that would raise my heartbeat. If I could keep myself calm and collected, it was just a small pain that I could normally erase from my thoughts. However, anymore than that and you might as well say that I was frozen in time.
“So what’s the plan?” I question as we reach the track in the rental car. Chad had taken up driving – save me, he was a bit of a crazy driver – with half of the crew piling in with Dom. We were set to meet Jimmie and Candiss at the track after they had stayed in the motorcoach.
“We’re going to head into the garage as normal,” Chad answers, acting as if there was nothing different about this weekend. “We’re going to go about our normal weekend activities. As for you, you can help out a little, but remember what we discussed. If you start to feel tired or such, feel free to take some time to relax in either in the trailer, or back at Jimmie’s coach. Just remember to take care of yourself.” I had to roll my eyes. That seemed to be the normal statement of the day as I heard it at least once every couple of hours from someone. I had a feeling that wouldn’t slow down at all over the weekend. Though, my question didn’t stem around that directly. I had a bigger thought on the mind at the moment.
“What about the media?” I hated to worry myself with them, but I had no choice. The ensuing events had become a big story, with everyone having questions and concerns. I had no doubt in my mind that someone would say something upon seeing my face for the first time since then, probably wanting to know something from me. Given that we worked for Hendrick Motorsports, they always had a plan of attack in situations of this nature. So, what was the plan?
“That’s why I am here,” Dom speaks up, causing me to look at him oddly and curiously. Wasn’t he here for security? What did he know about the media? “I spoke with Amanda this past week. She’s going to handle everything for Jimmie this weekend, while I handle everything for you. Any requests will come through me. You can answer how much you want, with whatever detail that you want. If they start to become too personal or annoying, I will rightfully tell them that we’re done and handle things from there.” Okay, so maybe the guy was good for more than his abilities to handle official guard business. I didn’t mind this guy after all. I just hoped that he could follow his own rules, or else we may run into some problems this weekend.
“Is that okay with you?” Chad double checks and I simply shake my head yes. As long as he did his job and the weekend went smoothly, I didn’t have nay objections. I was just glad to get out of the house, to be honest. It felt nice to be back at the track once again. “Okay. Oh, and Rick says that you better take care of yourself of he’s going to kick your ass himself.”
“I don’t have any doubt about that,” I offer, knowing Rick well enough to know that was the truth.
“He wouldn’t be the only one, though,” Cody shares as I glance towards the youngster. “I’d help him. Just because you’re back doesn’t mean that you can dive in head first. The team is in good hands, and can handle you taking a quiet approach.” I couldn’t help but smile. It was great watching him grow more and more into the role, knowing that he’d be a great crew chief.
Though for now, it was time to focus on this weekend and having some success.