TALK ABOUT YOUR EXTENSION WITH NATIONAL GUARD:
“Yeah, just real excited to get a deal done. It seems like that the guard has been really thrilled with the way things have gone over the last several years. I have enjoyed the relationship tremendously and we got a great new paint scheme for next year and we are just really enjoying the relationship. Glad to be able to look forward to another season with the guard.”
NASCAR ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK THERE WILL BE A MANDATORY BASELINE TEST GOING INTO 2014 WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THEM MOVING FORWARD ON THIS?
“We were told last year that this would probably be mandatory in ’14 it was no real surprise. I think it’s a great move by NASCAR to have another tool in the tool box to sort of help diagnosis, but as equally as important help treat the concussion. It’s a great tool not only to help diagnosis but really to understand the type of injury and the style of injury that you have and how to treat that particular injury with the information that you get from the baseline test. As much as the baseline test really is just good to do regardless it can really help you in the long run when you are needing that kind of treatment. It’s just valuable information. If you care about your wellbeing and your health and quality of life it’s a smart move to embrace.”
WERE YOU GIVEN ANY INDICATION THAT YOUR SITUATION LAST FALL HAD BEARING ON THEM MAKING THAT DECISION TO IMPLEMENT THAT TESTING?
“I don’t know if it did. I don’t know if what I went through had any effect on the choices they are making today, but I know that I learned a tremendous amount about how important all this is. I know that I did not take it that seriously. I didn’t take the impact test that seriously because I didn’t know much about it. I went to Pittsburgh and met the people up there and they explained to me how useful it is for them and to be able to help treat not only your own concussion. Concussions are like snowflakes they are all different in the way you are injured and how your symptoms are different from every person. Everybody reacts differently to it. This information that they are getting from a baseline test and then the retest of an individual like myself it helps further down the line treat other individuals. I think everybody is still learning about the way to treat a concussion and the best way to treat it obviously. All the information that they can get from these impact tests are valuable way on down the line. It’s important to look further ahead. It’s important to look on around the race track instead of driving right out the windshield just off the nose. It’s a pretty big deal. I think it’s a great move and I’m sure that NASCAR is going to be better off for it.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS GROUP QUALIFYING POSSIBILITY FOR NEXT YEAR?
“I’m excited. We’ve had a lot of changes in this sport in the last several years. It seems like every year we make a tremendous amount of changes. I think that these new ideas and the things that they proposed are going to be pretty exciting. I think driver may not like it. I might not like it particularly as a driver, but I think for the sport it’s better to be more exciting and to sort of give the fans what they want. I think we will all end up enjoying it though as far as drivers go. I think we will work the kinks out. Nothing is ever going to be perfect the first go around. We will adjust on it just like we always have. NASCAR will make adjustments and try to improve it for everybody and we will all end up enjoying it for sure.”
DID YOU UNDERSTAND THE CONCERNS SOME DRIVERS HAVE ABOUT THE BASELINE TESTING? SOME DRIVERS ARE WORRIED ABOUT IN ESSENCE DOCTORS SAYING YOU CAN’T DRIVE WHEN MAYBE THEY FEEL LIKE THEY CAN? DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?
“No, I don’t understand any concerns like that. Going through what I went through I don’t understand that. I think that you have to know how the test is taken and how the test is scored and how you are evaluated in the retest. It’s not two plus two equals four and ‘oh well you chose three you are out’. There is no right or wrong answers. It’s a test that really gives you an image of how someone thinks, how quickly they make decisions and how they make decisions, how they rationale. It’s not really a test of what’s the capital of North Carolina. There is not a grade. You are not graded to it. Steve Letarte (crew chief) and I took the test together. He did well on some things. I did well on some things, but when I was concussed my grade was dramatically lower, not just a few points. It’s not a guess for a doctor when they see an individual that is concussed on the test results. There is no gray area.”
IT WAS EASY IN YOUR CASE BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T FEEL GOOD. IF YOU FEEL GOOD…
“I don’t know that you would feel good if you were concussed. I mean I understand that drivers are going to be concerned that things could go wrong for them and they could get incorrectly diagnosed. I will be honest with you in my situation see I didn’t have a baseline to really go off of. I hadn’t taken the baseline first and I took the test after I was concussed and they had to grade me against the norm, the average of all the individuals that they had tested before. That was my mistake because I got graded against some other individual. They had to make an educated guess on whether I needed to be in the car or not.
“To prevent that from happening I think it’s smart to go get the test. I mean it’s going to be mandatory, so I think a lot of drivers went and took it anyway this year. I think it’s a really good move and it’s really smart. I think once people understand. I encourage you to go take the test. It takes 30 minutes and you will know what the test means, how it’s scored, how your graded, if you will. It’s a really loose term. Then you will see a bit more of the doctors point of view and you will understand there is not a big need for concern on the driver’s point of view. Like I feel just as comfortable knowing everything I know now as I did before I didn’t know anything. I don’t feel more worried about getting a concussion and being held out than I did before going through the whole process and understand how the test works and how they verify the test and all that. It is kind of frustrating, but I think we get about a year down the road and everybody understands how the test works especially when all the drivers are forced to take it. It is no sweat and I don’t think they are going to be too worried about it.”