Tracey didn’t voice her thoughts on Danny’s chances of returning for the race at Carns Motor circuit again over the following five days. The fact that she was still driving Danny to the physiotherapist on the Monday of race week because he could not handle the clutch properly in his ute told her all she needed to know. But that didn’t stop Danny telling her, and anyone else who would listen that he was going to race.
His therapy had gone well since leaving hospital and his progress was excellent, his fitness as a driver having a lot to do with how his body repaired itself, but he was still doing multiple sessions a day. Each time when Tracey picked him up from the rehab centre he was sore and grumpy, it was a side of him that Tracey didn’t particularly like being around.
The problem was that Danny, because he thought the way he did about his pain and how others should react, was unaware just how often he treated people that way. It usually started out innocently enough, he was in pain, he accepted assistance, but as he got older, more talented behind the wheel and became a championship racer who was pampered by a team and praised by fans it became more than just assistance when it was needed. He started to think he deserved the treatment, he started the believe that those around him should do things for him and if they didn’t he had the right to be unhappy. That attitude accumulated as his drinking increased, he may not have always been in physical pain but that did not mean that those around him could not treat him as if he were.
It was his pampered life as a race car champion, which at times nearly rivalled that of a pampered rockstar, that forced Danny into the belief that despite his surgeon’s orders and despite the thoughts of his rehabilitation specialists, he would race at Carns on the weekend. He would race because he would tell the team, the doctors and whoever else he needed to, that he was fit and they would accept that because he was the driver and he knew his abilities better than they did.
On Tuesday afternoon when he saw Murray Vicra, the team doctor, Danny figured he was simply going in to ‘go through the paces. He figured that Murray would run him through a few tests, they’d chat for a little while, mostly about something other than his injury and then Murray would just sign him off as free to race. It had happened before, not with such a serious injury but Danny wasn’t focused on the seriousness of his current situation, he was focused on racing.
“I can’t let you race, Danny.” Murray told him after a less than fifteen minutes of examination in the team doctor’s office.
“Why the fuck not?” Danny growled, not even trying to hide his anger.
“You’re not ready. There is no way that your leg will survive three solid days of driving a race car. Even if it wasn’t your clutch leg you wouldn’t pass the scrutiny of Race Control.”
“They would if you insisted I was OK!” Danny demanded and he lazed back in his chair.
Murray didn’t even need time to think of his response. “I can’t do that Danny.”
“Why the fuck not?” Danny asked repeating himself.
“You know why Danny. Now please don’t make more of this than it needs to be.”
“But I can do it. I know I can. I’ll only race, I wont do qualifying or anything.” Danny’s anger was easing as he realised if he had any hope of racing, and he still thought he did, loosing his cool was not the way to achieve that.
“Danny.” Murray paused to get control of the conversation. “You know Race Control wont allow that. You also know that if they did they’d want to know why. If there is even a hint that you can’t operate the clutch under race conditions they will stop you competing.”
“That’s bullshit!” Danny leaned forward and put his hands on his knees, he winced in pain as his hand touched his left knee, he hoped Murray hadn’t seen it.
“Well I’m sorry Danny, but that’s my recommendation.”
“Give me another chance to pass the physical.” Danny said but his tone was one of a defeated person.
“It wont change anything Danny.”
“Tomorrow then, I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“Danny it’s not going to change anything. I’m not going to let you go out there. At best if you do go other there you’ll risk further damage to your leg, at worst you have an accident and take yourself, or someone else out. I’m not going to risk that and you shouldn’t either, not for the sake of one race.”
“Is it only one race?” Danny voice was low as he shuffled in the chair. “MacDonnells Motorplex is a two week turn around.”
“I’m not going to guarantee it, but without the stress of this weekend yes I think you’ll be in with a good chance for racing MacDonnells.”
“Can I at least get some practise in?”
While he may not have known the exact rules and regulations related to the amount of time that a driver can practise on the track Murray did know such practise wasn’t likely immediately so rather than risk infuriating Danny again he went for a mid ground option.
“Start with a few sessions in the simulator tomorrow. Half hour sessions. An hour apart, at least. Three sessions at the most.” Danny tried to interrupt but the doctor kept talking. “That’s all I’m willing to offer Danny. Make an appointment with Jenny,” Murray’s receptionist, “for late tomorrow afternoon and we’ll review things again.”
“Only half an hour?”
“That’s my offer Danny, take it or leave it.”
Danny couldn’t remember Murray Vicra ever being so demanding or strict, he didn’t like it but he also knew there was little options for him to argue.
Previous Racing story here.