User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Davidson returns after crash, broken back

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Forgive Anthony Davidson for being a little rusty behind the wheel.

Advertisement
It was just seven months ago that Davidson broke two vertebrae in his lower back in a horrific crash at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Englishman spent four days in a French hospital, six weeks in a full-body cast, another two weeks in a soft shell and then months recovering and rehabbing.

He made his return in the Rolex 24 at Daytona - and things went better than he anticipated.

Davidson drove five mostly trouble-free stints in the twice-around-the-clock endurance race. His 8Star Motorsports team finished well behind race winner Scott Pruett - 34th overall and 10th in the Daytona Prototype class.

For Davidson, though, being back in the car overshadowed being in the back of the field.

``I imagine anyone who didn't do their job for seven months would struggle initially to be quite as sharp as you once were,'' Davidson said Sunday. ``I can feel every time in the car I'm becoming my old self again.''

Davidson was running third at Le Mans last June when he was bumped by Piergiuseppe Perazzini in a Ferrari. Davidson's Toyota went airborne before crashing to the pavement and then slamming into a tire barrier.

Davidson was rushed to the hospital, where tests revealed he broke the T-11 and T-12 vertebrae in his back, along with other damage.

Davidson never questioned whether he would race again, but the road to recovery was far from easy. After being immobilized for days, he lost balance and dealt with dizziness.

Physical therapists pushed him through rehab, even prompting him to test his back in a go-kart three months after the crash. That gave Davidson some confidence, but he knew the real test would be turning laps around the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

He signed with 8Star last month and got behind the wheel for a test a few weeks ago.

``That was a big moment,'' he said. ``I had done a bit in go-karting, but that's not the same. The first time on the banking and you're with other cars wheel to wheel. It brought back a bunch of memories from the (Le Mans) moment.''

Seeing Ferraris at Daytona brought back even more uneasy feelings.

``It's funny. I give them a wide berth now when I'm out there,'' Davidson said.

The Daytona course is filled with tight turns and bumpy patches, so Davidson wondered how his back would react, especially in the long, grueling stints that come in an endurance race.

``I was pretty confident it wasn't going to hurt,'' Davidson said. ``But I guess, in the back of your mind, I was thinking, `Am I going to feel any effects from that?' But I haven't. It's been perfect in the car, absolutely perfect. It feels as good as new. I can still make it hurt outside the car if I twist too much or lift up heavy things. But seven months in, I think that's quite normal.''

He still feels a ``dull ache'' after exercising and driving, but it's becoming less noticeable every day.

He has plans to race at Le Mans again this summer, but he's unsure about his future outside duties as a commentator with Sky Sports.

Nonetheless, he believes he learned something from the unfortunate crash.

``You've just got to expect the unexpected sometimes in traffic,'' he said. ``You might lose a little bit on it, but ultimately you'll be there at the end. To finish first, first you have to finish.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Roberts: Brickyard 400 Preview
Perez excited about Mexico GP in 2015
Wallace Jr. wins dirt race at Eldora
Smoke initially opposed stock cars at Indy
Troops entertain Junior, Rahal
Hamilton seeks 5th victory in Hungary
Mercedes chief breaks bones in crash
Dillon looks for strong Nationwide finish
Stewart riding high from sprint car win
MORE HEADLINES
 
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!