From Richie Murray
INDIANAPOLIS (May 11, 2017) — Robert Ballou, the 2015 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion, announced Thursday that he is cleared to race effectively immediately. He will make his return to the series this weekend behind the wheel of his own No. 12 at Eldora Speedway’s #LetsRaceTwo.
His comeback closes an eight-month recovery from injuries he suffered in a vicious USAC/CRA Sprint Car crash in September of 2016 at California’s Calistoga Speedway during the “Louie Vermeil Classic.”
After flipping and hitting the top of the turn one catch fence, the 28-year-old Ballou estimates his car fell 15-18 feet before contacting the track surface. Among his injuries were a C2 fracture in his neck, a burst fracture of the C7 and a compression fracture of T8 vertebrae.
Following surgery, the Rocklin, California native found himself in a cervical spine brace for the next nine weeks as his body healed and he watched from the sidelines.
But sitting on the sidelines will not be part of the gameplan this weekend when Ballou makes his long-awaited, highly-anticipated comeback to USAC racing.
Rossburg, Ohio’s Eldora Speedway is a fitting return for the driver known as “The Madman.” After all, his first three career USAC National Sprint Car feature wins came at the high-banked, half-mile dirt oval between 2007 and 2010. His 26 career series wins are tied for 15th on the all-time list alongside Tony Elliott and Dave Steele.
In 2015, Ballou went on a tear, winning 13 races en route to his first career USAC National Sprint Car title. In doing so, he became just the fourth driver to win the series title in a self-owned or family-owned car, joining Robbie Stanley in 1991 & 1992, Doug Kalitta in 1994, and Bryan Clauson in 2012.
Robert thanked his numerous fans and sponsors for the outpouring of support throughout the last eight months in a Facebook post Thursday night.