The news is optimistic for Kevin Harvick’s rear tire changer, Donald “D.J.” Richardson. Richardson, 37, contracted the H1N1 virus, also popularly called swine flu, on a family visit in Massachusetts over the US Thanksgiving holiday.
Richardson’s condition worsened as he developed pneumonia before being admitted to Health Alliance Hospital in his home town of Leominster. He was immediately sent to the hospital’s intensive care unit with a diagnosis of acute respiratory distress syndrome. His team reports that he’s recovering at the hospital.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with D.J. and his family during this very trying time,” said Mike Dillon, RCR’s vice president of competition. “All of us at Richard Childress Racing and Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines wish him a full and speedy recovery.”
Richardson began his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with Andy Petree Racing in 1999. He has also worked for Penske Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Braun Racing. He joined RCR in July of this year.
This may be the first known case of the H1N1 Virus in NASCAR’s top series.