Vitor Meira arrived at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier than expected on the morning of Sept. 30 to check his No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing car and the comfort level of his seat and belts before he got back behind the wheel of his IndyCar Series car at IMS – where he suffered back injuries in a frightening crash during the 2009 Indianapolis 500 in May. If he was tentative before getting back in the car, Meira knew there would be no issues after just a few laps around the famed 2.5-mile oval.
“During the middle of the first run, I knew I was going to be fine,” Meira said. “I just made sure the car would be there. On the second run, I was flat out, no problem.”
Meira said his recovery became particularly difficult after six or eight weeks beyond the accident. He felt physically fine, even though he knew he was still healing.
Team owner and four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt, who bounced back from many crashes during his legendary driving career, was impressed with Meira's return.
“I was able to come back pretty quick, but a lot of guys couldn't,” Foyt said. “That's what I wanted to know (about Vitor). That's the reason I wanted to come here and get him some laps. Sometimes you say can, and you can't come back. I knew Vitor would be able to come back because he wanted to, and he worked so hard to get back. He knows he can now.”