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Erik Jones "feeling pretty good" despite suffering back injury in 70G crash

Erik Jones has no set timetable for his return to NASCAR Cup competition after suffering a compression fracture in last weekend’s race at Talladega, but wishes he could “hop back in”.

Erik Jones, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, AdventHealth Toyota Camry

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

The Legacy Motor Club Toyota driver was originally released from the infield care centre following a multi-car wreck late in the race ultimately won by Tyler Reddick, but returned on his own complaining of back pain.

He was eventually transported to a local hospital and diagnosed with a compression fracture, forcing him to sit out this week’s race at Dover.

“To be honest right now, I’m feeling pretty good,” Jones said on Saturday at Dover.

“As a driver, probably any driver, they want to just hop back in. I would love to say that I could get back in and do it right now.

“Is that possible? I don’t know.

“I don’t know how I would truly feel in the car, especially a place like Dover.

“I get pretty sore at night and when I’m not moving around. My range of motion is a bit limited right now, but the soreness has faded away.

“It was pretty bad earlier in the week, and I was just resting. By yesterday and today, I’m feeling better and better.”

Erik Jones, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, Dollar Tree Toyota Camry and Ricky Stenhouse Jr, JTG Daugherty Racing, Kroger/NOS Energy Drink Chevrolet Camaro

Erik Jones, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, Dollar Tree Toyota Camry and Ricky Stenhouse Jr, JTG Daugherty Racing, Kroger/NOS Energy Drink Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

Truck Series regular Corey Heim is filling in for Jones in LMC's #43 entry this weekend and will likely do so again next week at Kansas if Jones continues to sit out. After that, the plan is “week to week.”

With just over 30 laps remaining at Talladega, a push into the corner involving John Hunter Nemechek and Bubba Wallace unsettled the group of Toyotas that had pitted together earlier. The bump from behind started a chain-reaction crash that hooked Jones’s car head-on into the outside wall.

The wreck collected four of the seven Toyotas in the group, knocking Jones, Wallace, Nemechek and Denny Hamlin all out of contention.

Reflecting on an impact he described as nearly 70gs, Jones said: “It hurt when I crashed.

“I’ve never broken a bone in my life, so I didn’t even know what that would feel like. I got out of the car on my own and I was feeling better. Obviously, adrenaline is going, and I’m pumped up still.

“Got to the care centre, told them what was wrong, my back was hurting. And they poked and prodded all over me as they normally do. And I said everything felt okay. And I told them multiple times, it was feeling just like muscle strain to me.”

Once Jones got back to his bus and changed, he realised there might be something wrong before going to hospital. 

However the 27-year-old believes his injury “could have been a lot worse” and credited the safety of the Next Gen car.

“NASCAR has gotten some of a bad rap this week,” he said.

Erik Jones, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, Family Dollar Toyota Camry

Erik Jones, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, Family Dollar Toyota Camry

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

“The Next Gen car gets a bad rap. And at the end of the day, I think the car did its job.

“As far as coming back, I think it is week-to-week.

“My injury is fortunately on the mild side, so we will just have to see how it is healing up, how I’m feeling – again, I’m feeling better and better every day.

“I have an appointment next week, and kind of will make a decision from there.”

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