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

What’s next for Danica Patrick after the Indy 500? Dreams, downtime and waffles

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INDIANAPOLIS – When Danica Patrick was a 14-year-old growing up in Roscoe, Illinois, she had a firm idea of what she’d be doing 20 years later.

A reporter from her hometown newspaper recently reminded her of that in a recent interview when he brought a prescient artifact from those teenage years – an essay that she crafted as an up and coming go-kart driver about her racing accomplishments.

“I’m breezing through it, and then at the end, it said, ‘I wanted to race Indy cars,” Patrick, 36, said Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I was 14. I told him, ‘See? If this isn’t an example of “Write that shit down,” nothing is.’

“This is manifesting. You have write it down and you have to imagine what you want. So I do that as much as I can.”

Heading into the final start of her career in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 (she will start seventh in her No. 13 Dallara-Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing), Patrick already seems to have a solid idea of the next 20 years — in part, because of having some glimpses into her post-racing life.

There has been plenty of downtime since her final NASCAR start in the Daytona 500 three months ago. She has taken vacations (including an India trip to meet the Dalai Lama with boyfriend Aaron Rodgers) and created several new routines on her suddenly free from racing weekends.

“I make waffles on Sundays now,” she said. “That’s pretty fun.  In the summer, there’s like farmers market.  I can’t wait for that.  I mean, there’s going to be probably some new stuff that I don’t know yet.

“The one thing that I am definitely looking forward to less of is less stress.  Last weekend was awesome at the end of it all because it went well with qualifying, but I was nervous for 95% of that weekend. That’s uncomfortable.”

But testing her comfort zone is appealing to Patrick, who has spent most of her adult life testing the boundaries of gender norms in her profession. Though the pressure of race weekends might disappear, her incessant quest for challenges probably will remain.

Now that racing is over, Patrick still has a winery, a clothing line, a cookbook and a fitness manual to promote – and more is on the way.

“I just have a habit for pushing myself to uncomfortable spaces, making them comfortable for me,” she said. “At least just making them comfortable enough to be able to manage.

“As an example, I went bungee jumping a long while back, like 10 years.  I’m super scared of heights.  I’m still scared of heights.  But I just like to know that if I want to do something, I am brave enough and confident enough to do it.  That doesn’t mean I’m not still scared.  That doesn’t mean it’s not still something that’s easy to me afterward. I just like to know I can get past the fear if I have to.

“I’m OK with transitioning into other things, finding a little bit of happiness and joy each day, less colorization of emotions. I’m ready for that.”

So what specifically is on tap? Talk shows? Another book?

Patrick demurs when pressed.

“I think I have definitely big dreams and aspirations for myself, for all my companies, for the kind of emotion I want to have on a day-to-day basis,” she said. “I’m looking forward to a good, easy, happy, calm, joyful, exciting, adventurous life.  If I say I want it, there’s a very good chance that’s what I’ll get.”

In the short-term, there’s hosting an ESPN awards show that will keep her busy through July.

And after that, her schedule will free up just as Green Bay Packers training camp begins for Rodgers, the two-time MVP quarterback.

“I’m thinking I’m going to have plenty of time to write a cookbook in Green Bay,” she said.