V8 Supercars veteran Greg Murphy will be sidelined from this weekend’s Falken Tasmania Challenge championship round at Symmons Plains due to a back injury he sustained at the season-opening Clipsal 500 Adelaide almost a month ago.
His place in the #51 Pepsi Max Kelly Racing entry will be taken by Development Series driver David Russell.
The New Zealander will undergo surgery today to correct a ruptured disc in his back, which flared up following treatment for his initial back pains he suffered in a heavy accident with Jonathon Webb during qualifying for Sunday’s second race at Adelaide.
“After seeing my surgeon last week and then with the way my body has reacted on the weekend after not really doing anything I knew something wasn’t right,” he is quoted as saying.
“It’s attributed to the accident that happened in Adelaide. It’s put too much pressure on the disc and a tear has formed and finally its ruptured open on Friday or Saturday and so after an MRI on Tuesday afternoon the surgeons are getting me into surgery on Wednesday afternoon to repair it before it gets worse.”
It’s not the first time that Murphy has been hit by a back injury. In 2010, he underwent a surgical procedure for a disc injury in the weeks leading up to the Phillip Island 500 endurance races, but he was back behind the wheel at that event after a speedy recovery. In 2003, he had to miss the Eastern Creek round after injuring his back.
It is believed that ‘Murph’ will make a similar recovery and be fit to race at the following championship round, the ITM400 at Hamilton, his home event.
The team therefore took the decision to promote Russell – who raced for the team at last year’s endurance rounds – into its frontline line-up this weekend. Russell currently competes for the Kelly Racing-run Dreamtime Racing outfit in the V8 Development Series championship.