Driving with a cast on your right hand isn't the easiest way to go about making the Chase, but that is the adversity Martin Truex Jr. is facing this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Truex fractured his right wrist when his hand got stuck in the steering wheel in a jarring crash a week ago at Bristol Motor Speedway. He is wearing a specially cast that allows to grip to grip the wheel and is "99 percent chance" that he runs the entire race Sunday." The injury takes approximately six weeks to heal.
But having never been injured before, Truex isn't sure what to expect as he attempts to navigate 500 miles on what is a challenging Atlanta surface and will have Scott Speed on standby just in case.
"I was a little bit nervous coming here -- not real sure what it was going to be like," Truex said Friday. "I've never drove hurt before. I've never been hurt in a race car before, but the first lap out on the track (in Friday practice) I felt really good."
The injury comes at an inopportune time for Truex, who holds the No. 1 wild card slot with two regular season races remaining. And Atlanta is the kind of track where the No. 56 team has excelled, as Truex is the only driver to record top 10s in all five races this season on 1.5-mile ovals.
"It was obviously unfortunate for something like that to happen this time of year with the position we're in and where we are at in points and trying to make the Chase and the wild card situation and all that. But I feel good that we're able to come here and race and do the best job we can do. I think that this doesn't change anything for us.
"We've had some good runs here in Atlanta. I love this race track and feel like we've got a good opportunity here to make something happen, so hopefully we'll be able to do that this weekend."