Pye woke up in hospital before stirring drive
Scott Pye was only discharged from hospital at 7:30am this morning, ahead of an action-packed day in Newcastle that included a qualifying crash and a stirring drive from last to sixth in the first race.
The Walkinshaw Andretti United driver was hit with a nasty bout of gastro on Thursday night, a futile attempt to take part in Friday practice followed by a trip to hospital.
He was only discharged this morning, just over three hours before qualifying, only to mark his return to the car by a crash that left him last on the grid for today's race.
But a remarkable drive in the 95-lapper saw him charge all the way to sixth place.
Detailing the dramatic sequence of events, Pye says it was the period between the first and second Friday sessions that things took a turn for a worse.
He had initially reported that he'd be fine after getting though the first half-hour session, only for his condition to quickly deteriorate afterwards.
"I thought I was fine," he said. "I'd only slept two hours since Friday, so I went back to the [team] cabin and I had a sleep.
"I woke up really cold, so I turned the air conditioner off and went back to sleep. My temperature went over 39 and I was wrapped up in towels, and James [Courtney] came in and he was like 'man, it's like 40 degrees in here – what's wrong with you?'.
"I couldn't stop shaking, so I went down to the medics here and they said 'nah, you need to go straight to hospital'.
"It was the fever that was kicking me in the arse, I'd be freezing cold and then sweat would be dripping off my nose the next minute. There's no way I could have got back in the car for [Practice 2].
"Fortunately I did [Practice 1], so that allowed me to get to hospital earlier. I was on a drip by 3:30pm because my urine was brown as I was so dehydrated."
With the dehydration dealt with courtesy of an overnight drip, Pye says it was a lack of food that was his primary concern heading into the 250-kilometre race.
"I hadn't eaten since Friday," he said. "I had some cruskets before the race. My only real concern for the race was that I hadn't eaten enough.
"I got really hungry during the race, I would have loved a burger in the pitstop.
"Hydration was okay, I made sure I drank a lot during the race. I got a good night's sleep last night, which was good.
"I feel like I came good during the day. Everyone was commenting on how bad I looked when I got the track, but then I got some fluids into me and progressively got better. Once I was in the car, for the first 10 or 15 laps I was running pretty hot and then I got acclimatised a bit more and I was alright."
Pye's turn of race speed came on a solid day for the WAU squad, Courtney finishing just a spot back in seventh.
While the team has switched its damper package this weekend as part of a 2020 control unit trial for Supercars, Pye doesn't think the speed is directly related.
"I'm probably more comfortable on the other dampers," he said.
"There's a few things I'm not overly happy with, like the drive off Turn 2. But I feel I'm quite good under brakes. They are common traits for our car, so I don't think it's dampers.
"I think the team has just given us good cars. I did a 10.8 in qualifying and then crashed. That's the quickest lap I've ever done around here. I said 'sorry, the car is amazing and I've just thrown it away'.
"We were confident after qualifying, but we were just way out of position."
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