Davey Allison will be released from Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., today or tomorrow, and crew chief Larry McReynolds says his driver is talking about taking a practice lap tomorrow and starting the Diehard 500 on Sunday in Talladega, Ala.
"It wouldn't be unrealistic to make one practice lap Saturday afternoon," McReynolds said. "But given what he has been through, I think the fact we're talking about it is pretty amazing."
Allison, 31, suffered a broken and dislocated right wrist, two broken bones in his right forearm and a fractured collarbone during a terrifying crash at Pocono International Raceway last Sunday.
Yesterday, he underwent bone-graft surgery on his arm. He was resting comfortably last night, a hospital spokesman said.
A team of doctors began designing a cast for Allison yesterday afternoon that will allow him to grip the steering wheel and gearshift lever. Winston Cup rookie Andy Belmont, a Pennsylvania driver, took a Winston Cup race car to the hospital to enable the doctors to get into and out of the car, and get the feel for the type of pressure Allison will have to exert on the steering wheel and the force and pressure of shifting gears. They will design the cast based on what they learn.
NASCAR rules say Allison must be able to get into and out of the car by himself. He also must start Sunday's race to earn points toward the Winston Cup championship. And that fact is important to the Alabama native, because he is in the midst of the championship race, having led the series until Sunday's wreck, when he dropped four points behind Bill Elliott.
When Allison is released, he will fly directly from Allentown to Talladega. McReynolds says he has no intention of asking NASCAR to bend rules to allow Allison to drive.
"If he's going to drive in the race," said NASCAR spokesman Chip Williams, "he'll have to get clearance from his own doctor and then pass a medical test given by our doctor at the racetrack. Before he gets in that race car, at least two doctors will have said he'll be fine."
Bobby Hillin, hired by team owner Robert Yates as a relief or substitute driver, is expected to qualify the car. But because the car -- not the driver -- qualifies, Allison would be able to slip into the driver's seat for the start of the race.
NOTE: Crew chief Jeff Hammond resigned from the Darrell Waltrip team two days after Waltrip credited him with making the call that broke a 30-race non-winning streak. Hammond said he will become manager of a new Winston Cup team that Charlotte, N.C., businessman Felix Sabates is forming for driver Kenny Wallace, who is running the Grand National tour in a Sabates-owned car.