Cody Ware said Tuesday that he is recovering from soreness in his right foot after a severe crash two days ago, and that he is “heading in the right direction” as he undergoes physical therapy in an effort to return to competition this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
Ware was helped from his No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Ford after a crash midway through last Sunday’s 500-miler at Texas Motor Speedway. He was treated and released from the Fort Worth track’s infield care center, and a team spokesperson said he would return home after X-rays showed no fractures.
In a Tuesday appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Ware said he was unable to put his full weight on his right foot and he was in a walking boot to provide extra support. He said he visited Ortho Carolina for prompt medical attention after returning home, and that physical therapy is helping him build the foot strength to work the car’s pedals for Sunday’s YellaWood 500 at Talladega (2 p.m. ET, NBC, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM).
“Right now not dealing with too much pain, just trying to do some physical therapy and recover, you know,” Ware told SiriusXM. “More or less just dealing with some stretched ligaments and just a lot of bruising and swelling in my foot and ankle, but already been to physical therapy twice and gonna get the final approval today to get confirmation to race at Talladega.”
Ware said he believed the throttle on his No. 51 Ford was stuck open after his initial impact with the Turn 4 retaining wall. His car eventually came to rest after bouncing off the pit-road wall. “There wasn’t much I could do to get the car slowed down,” he said, “and I kind of, unfortunately I was just a passenger in my own car heading towards the pit-road wall.”
Ware said he was due for a final MRI scan this week, just to make sure nothing was missed in his initial assessments. The 26-year-old driver also indicated he may not be able to walk “on my own 100%” at Talladega, but cited the example of Camping World Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar, who did not miss a race after suffering a broken tibia near his right ankle after a crash at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Hocevar navigated the garage area using crutches and later a cane in the weeks after the wreck. Tuesday, he offered those crutches to Ware through social media.
i got a set you can borrow if you need
— Carson Hocevar (@CarsonHocevar) September 27, 2022
Ware added that he’s been careful in preparing for this weekend’s race, trying to balance the workload.
“Obviously, I’m trying to be smart with just resting my ankle and the foot, not overworking it, but I’m not using that as an excuse to lounge around and not get things done,” Ware said. “Because I’m invested in this, I’m invested in being a NASCAR driver, and I’m not just gonna let a bump in the road stop me. Obviously, still have to be smart and safe, and that’s why I’ve got a great team of doctors and medical professionals that are overseeing the process. But I’m still gonna work as hard as I can and be involved as much as I can, and that’s not going to change, no matter what.”
Ware said that he was unsure if his wrecked race car would go to the NASCAR Research & Development Center, but that competition officials were at his family-owned team’s race shop Monday morning to inspect the car and record their findings.
“So they were involved with looking at the car, taking all the pictures and diagnosing everything that they could, guys like (official and former racer) David Green, looking at the interior of the car from the driver safety standpoint to see anything that we can learn and work on going forward with the future there,” Ware said. “And so I think all in all, they’ve been very proactive with seeing what they can learn and how they can fix the cars going forward and things like that. I know that they definitely took back my HANS (Head And Neck restraint System) and helmet to look at that at the R&D Center, so that did go back to the R&D Center. But overall, I’m pretty happy with the response to how quickly they were to try to learn and gather information on this wreck.”