NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. has been diagnosed with a scaphoid fracture and sprain the right wrist as the result of a late accident in the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway Tennessee on Saturday.
Truex was caught up in an accident triggered when contact between Denny Hamlin and Brian Vickers on lap 448 of the 500 lap race caused Hamlin to shoot up the track and collect Truex and Kevin Harvick.
An in-car camera showed Truex in apparent pain and holding his wrist immediately after the incident as he gingerly exited the #56 car before being dispatched to the in-field care centre for evaluation.
Although the team kept quiet about the possibility of an injury while Truex was undergoing further tests, the driver was a notable absentee from MWR's pre-arranged testing session at Chicagoland Speedway on Monday and Tuesday leading to speculation about his condition.
MWR finally confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that an MRI had diagnosed the fracture and sprain.
However Truex can't afford to take any time off racing if he's to stay in the hunt for a Chase position and keep his 2013 Cup championship hopes alive. He's currently 14th in the standings and 22 points adrift of the all-important top ten, although his win earlier in the season at Sonoma currently sees him holding one of the wild card spots for the Chase.
“It's unfortunate that it happened at this point in the season given our position in the standings," said Truex. "Our goals don't change. We are going to Atlanta to win. It will be a challenge but I think we're up to it. I know I am."
MWR said that Truex has been liaising closely with NASCAR about his injury and has already been cleared to race at this coming weekend's Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
However, while he heals Truex will need to need to wear a special cast to help him grip the steering wheel, for which he was fitted on Tuesday. The team has yet to decide whether or not they will have a stand-by driver ready in Atlanta to take over the #56 in the event that Truex has to step out of the Sunday night AdvoCare 500.