May 13, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS -- Danica Patrick received a double-dose of good news on Tuesday as she prepares for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on May 25.

Chuck Buckman, the Indy 500 chief mechanic who was injured when Patrick's IndyCar hit him in pit lane during last Friday's practice session, was released from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

Buckman suffered a traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage and a skull fracture, but has recovered to the point where he can continue convalescence at home. Buckman is the chief mechanic for Mario Moraes at Dale Coyne Racing.

Patrick, who became the first female driver ever to win a race in a major, closed-course racing series when she drove to victory at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan on April 20, has been absolved of any wrong doing for the pit lane incident.

Patrick was pulling her car into her pit area when Buckman walked in front of her car. The contact sent Buckman flying about four-feet into the air before landing on his face and head, which rendered him unconscious.

He was later revived and sent to the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital before he was moved to a private room on Sunday.

Patrick got some words of encouragement from fellow driver Tony Kanaan, her teammate at Andretti Green Racing who is the leader of the team, after the incident on Friday.

"I came back and I watched the video," Kanaan said. "When I came in, she had tears in her eyes, so I hugged her and she cried a little more, so maybe that was a bad move on my behalf.

"I said, `Let it go.' She was like, `He has a family.' I said, `It wasn't your fault.' I said he's going to get better. There is not a lot you can say. I said, `You've got to keep your head straight.' I said, `Go talk to his team, call his family.'"

Patrick, who addressed the media Friday night after the incident and said that she would not discuss the situation any further after she qualified fifth on the grid for the May 25 Indianapolis 500.

Patrick ran a four-lap average of 225.197 miles per hour, which had her on the pole until four other drivers moved her down on the grid.

Patrick received some good news on Tuesday when she made the cover of Sports Illustrated. The close-up of the attractive race driver includes the title "Yes She Can -- Danica Patrick revs up for Indy." She is featured in a full-length article written by SI writer Lars Anderson.

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