Robert Ballou Making Return From Injury At Eldora
Story By: RICHIE MURRAY / USAC SERIES MEDIA
Photos By: DICK AYERS / RACERSGUIDE.COM
ROSSBURG, Ohio –May 12, 2017- Former USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion Robert Ballou announced Thursday that he has been cleared to return to competition.
Ballou will make his return to to USAC competition this weekend at Eldora Speedway aboard his own No. 12 during Eldora Speedway’s #LetsRaceTwo event.
His comeback closes an eight-month recovery from injuries he suffered in a 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 hitting 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, Calif., native found himself in a cervical spine brace for the next nine weeks as his body healed and he watched from the sidelines.
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.
Eldora Speedway is a fitting location for Ballou to return to competition. His first three USAC National Sprint Car feature wins came at the 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 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 and ’92, Doug Kalitta in 1994, and Bryan Clauson in 2012.