WEST ALLIS, Wis. – Scales have been off-limits the past few weeks, injured Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe says. It’s just too painful to look down and read the exacting numbers of weight loss.
Dropping about 15 pounds is to be expected in the seven weeks since he sustained an upper left thigh and pelvic injury that required same-day surgery following a violent crash in practice May 18 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
Otherwise, the usually high-energy Hinchcliffe says he’s “ahead of schedule” in his recuperation. A final surgery at the end of the month is tentatively scheduled, and then he’ll ease into more physical aspects of therapy.
“I’ve learned that doctors know what they’re talking about and I should listen to them,” said Hinchcliffe, who attended the Honda Indy Toronto in his hometown last month and is attending this weekend's ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest presented by the Metro Milwaukee Honda Dealers. “I have an excellent team of doctors and physical therapists looking after me and have helped the recovery process go along as smoothly as possible."
Dietary restrictions have been minimal and walking has been his primary form of exercise.
“My energy level gets better every day. Strength gets better every day. Mobility gets better every day,” Hinchcliffe said. “It feels slow to me, but the doctors say everything is going quickly.
"The big goal for the doctors was to make sure that I recovered as well as possible from not only the surgery that I had, but from the trauma that my body experienced to prepare for the next surgery to make sure I'm as healthy as I am the next time I go under the knife, so that way I can bounce back quickly from that one. So the physical side of it will take place more so after that is done."
Working toward offseason on-track testing is his goal physically and remaining involved is a mental aid.
"We're obviously still learning a new aero kit and we're going to all these tracks for the first time with the new aero kit so there are still lessons to be learned," Hinchcliffe said. "As much as I can stay involved reading the engineering reports and getting everything after the fact, being there on hand at the time and hearing the words out of the driver's mouth and seeing the feelings and emotions and being part of the decision-making process is still something that will serve me well in preparations for next year when we still have to use this same car.
"So it's all learning and building toward 2016 for me as well as trying to help the team and add my experience in whenever I can for the races this year."
Ryan Briscoe is driving the No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda for the remaining five races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season in lieu of Hinchcliffe.