Carl Edwards’ rear tire changer, Jon Moore, to miss up to 12 weeks

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With Carl Edwards having a leg up on making the Chase for the Sprint Cup this season after his win at Bristol, it was time for Jon Moore to put his shoulder to the grindstone.

Moore, a veteran rear tire changer on Edwards’ No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, has played hurt for quite some time with a bum shoulder.

After Edwards won at Bristol, Moore decided to get the ongoing – and worsening pain in his shoulder – looked at when the team returned from the following week’s race at Fontana, Calif.

“I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know it was this bad,” Moore told PitTalks.com. “For the last year its been getting progressively worse and then on the way back from (California) it really started hurting. I talked to my doctor, Bill Heisel of Ortho Carolina, and he told me it wasn’t good.”

The diagnosis: a torn Labrum, one of the roughest injuries an athlete can sustain.

Added Moore, “(Dr. Heisel) called me back after they examined me and said, ‘Jon, it’s worse than we thought. It’s torn on the front, the back, and part of your bicep.’ I knew at that point that I needed to do something.”

It was Edwards’ win at Bristol that prompted Moore to get his shoulder examined. Had his driver not won, who knows how much longer Moore would have continued playing hurt.

While his injury didn’t impede his duties as rear tire changer, the pain Moore continued to experience was eventually going to force him to do something about it.

And better to do so now than later in the season, particularly during the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.

So Moore was scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday and will likely miss about 12 weeks, according to PitTalks.com – or roughly 10 races.

“The thought process behind it was this: Carl won at Bristol so it makes sense to do it now and get it done,” Moore said. “Hopefully, if everything goes well, then I’ll be ready for the Chase.”

Just like other sports leagues call up injury replacements from their respective minor leagues, RFR and the No. 99 team have done the same.

Moore will be replaced by Rapheal Diaz, rear tire changer on the No. 16 Nationwide Series RFR Ford of Ryan Reed.

“He’s pretty good so I feel good about the team and the next few weeks,” Moore said of Diaz.

While he’s an integral part of the No. 99, Moore’s teammates support his decision to have the surgery now, rather than risk further injury that could have resulted in additional tearing or complications.

“Man, I got the best teammates in the world,” Moore said. “Everyone on the team has either been by to see me or called me to wish me well for the surgery. It’s kind of cool knowing I got so much support from my guys.”

To show he was in great spirits and frame of mind going into the operating room, Moore laughed and added that he even had one additional supporter to have the surgery done now.

“Even my hard ass crew chief (veteran Jimmy Fennig) was cool about it!”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

Follow@KyleMLavigne