Brad Keselowski won’t let broken ankle stop him

Brad Keselowski’s broken left ankle ballooned to the size of a

softball, and he needs a left shoe a size larger than his right

one.

Stay home? No way.

Not only will Keselowski drive Sunday at Pocono Raceway, he says

no amount of pain from his broken left ankle will force him out of

the No. 2 Dodge.

”It’s been easier at times,” he said, sitting outside his

transporter.

His week got worse during Friday’s second practice session. He

blew a tire, spun and had to slam the brakes, putting pressure on

his injured ankle. The Dodge was towed to the garage, and

Keselowski was left wondering what else could go wrong.

”It’s just been one of those weeks, I guess,” he said.

The good news for Keselowski was that he had brakes and got the

car under control. He wasn’t so lucky on Wednesday when he lost his

brakes during a test session and crashed head-on into a wall at

Road Atlanta.

He slammed a section of wall that did not have an

energy-absorbing barrier and data showed he slowed from 155 mph to

about 100 mph at time of impact.

Five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was at Road Atlanta and

posted a picture on Twitter of the crumpled car.

”I could tell he was a bit dazed when he got out of the car,”

Johnson said. ”I spoke to him the night after the wreck and he

didn’t remember me being down at the race car with him, so I think

he definitely was dazed.”

Keselowski later posted several updates on his Twitter page,

including two photos that showed a swollen ankle and an abrasion on

his foot.

”I was pretty sure after I hit the wall that I had broken

everything that I could break,” he said. ”I was hurting pretty

good. I feel pretty decent now. Walking isn’t all that easy, but

that’s just the deal.

Keselowski won’t run in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide race in

Iowa. Penske Racing said Sam Hornish Jr. will drive the No. 22

Dodge in Friday’s practices, qualifying and the race.

But Keselowski was at Pocono Raceway, trying his best to block

out the pain and compete as if it were a normal practice session.

He needs his left foot for braking and shifting, and Pocono is a

grueling 500-mile race on a 2 1/2-mile track.

”I can’t believe he is driving,” driver Clint Bowyer said.

”I’m not a doctor, but his ankle looked twice the size of the

other one in the picture. I bet he is going to be pretty

uncomfortable when he has to mash the brakes in turn one.”

Keselowski has good reason for not wanting out. He’s 21st in the

standings and trying to earn one of the wild-card berths in the

Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

The top two drivers with the most victories in 11th to 20th

place earn a wild-card spot in the Chase for the championship. He

has a win at Kansas, meaning one more victory would surely catapult

him into the title hunt.

”This is about the worst time knowing we’re coming up on the

Chase, knowing we need another win to get in,” Keselowski said.

”There’s no good time, but this is certainly the worst time.”