By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
James Davison was ninth fastest (224.315 mph) in Thursday’s practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, doing so with a burnt right heel.
You’ve read that right, Davison has been navigating the physically and mentally demanding 2.5-mile superspeedway with a personal setback.
The five-time Indianapolis 500 starter confirmed to NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch that he sustained second degree burns during the NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway two weeks ago.
Since then, the 33-year-old Australian had been nursing his injury and briefly described how it’s been for him.
“I had second degree burns from the floor on the stock car,” said Davison, driver of the No. 51 Honda. “Even though I had heat shields on. That’s something new to me and I’m nursing it. Every time I walk on it, it quite hurts.”
Not only is Davison concentrating on having a good starting spot for his sixth Indy 500 this weekend, he’s also heading to Daytona International Speedway to compete on the road course for Rick Ware Racing, one of three teams partnering with Dale Coyne Racing’s third entry.
For now, Davison is enjoying the parity on the INDYCAR side and trying to improve on his car as rising temperatures has made the handling of his No. 51 machine difficult in traffic.
“I’ve always maintained to do a fast tow lap, you got to have a car that allows you to do it. As well as a good set of tires in the beginning to do it,” said Davison. “We did that time when the tires have done maybe about eight laps, so that’s normal.
“In traffic, we’re starting to lose the rear a bit in since the temperature came up. It’s amazing how everything just gets turned upside down the moment the heat comes up. We’re chasing the balance like the majority of the field right now. Today was the day to get on top of it.”
When the dust settled, Davison further reflected on his afternoon, citing it was an encouraging session where his Honda ran competitively in traffic.
“We weren’t anything special but certainly weren’t below average. Good to know that we can ride competitively with some of the big teams,” said Davison. “With that said, there’s a couple of guys out there that are in race-winning positions, and that’s something that we are working toward.
“We will just stick with it and work on our qualifying car tomorrow, in order to secure a good starting spot and track position for the race which is going to be very important.”
Burnt heel and progress aside, Davison has been running a black unsponsored DCR Honda the past two days, but rest assure the blue and white Jacob Construction colors, that’s synonymous to RWR in NASCAR, will make its Indy debut Friday where qualifying speed will be the name of the game.
“We haven’t got our suit going, but we will tomorrow,” said Davison. “So, look for the blue and white suit and car.”