Blundell back on the track

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The Independent Online
Motor racing

Britain's Mark Blundell flies out to the United States today to prepare for his comeback at the fastest track of them all on 26 May - just two months after fracturing his right foot in three places, writes Derick Allsop.

The former grand prix driver plunged into a wall in the Brazilian IndyCar race at Rio de Janeiro five weeks ago and had his lower leg in plaster until last week. But he is adamant he will be fit enough to compete in the US 500 at the Michigan Speedway.

He convinced himself he could face the ordeal after a test session at the awesome oval last week. He plans more running in his PacWest car before tackling qualifying on 11 May.

Blundell, who crashed in only his second IndyCar outing, said: "I was a bit apprehensive when I got back in the car. That is, after all, the fastest track. You average 230mph. It was my first sight of it, 18 degrees of banking and all. It's amazing.

"But my confidence came back and I got to 218mph without really pushing. I walked away, my head held high, knowing I was still a racing driver.

"What made it difficult was that I'd never broken a bone in my life and I'd had five weeks to think about it. I couldn't get it out of my mind and come to terms with it. I was lucky to walk away from the accident let alone talk about it. But at least we found out it was a component failure that left me with no brakes."

The US 500 is being held in direct competition with the traditional "500", at Indianapolis, following a row between organising bodies. It means the top drivers will be at Michigan, leaving a field of second-raters to race at the Brickyard.