Another Day in The Life of the Luckiest Man Alive
Another Day in The Life of the Luckiest Man Alive
On April 8th, around 2:30 AM I was traveling home from an amazing weekend of racing. Though I didn’t win a nickel with the car I had success beyond others expectations. On Friday on a 5 tenths pro tree my car was shallow leaving @ 3000 rpm. When I hit the tree the first time I was .027 and the best light of the testing for an open comp race being held @ ATCO was .014! My friends and I had done it! We had taken Barney a car running a best of 10.30S and got it to go shallow. But wait there’s more ! Besides the car leaving well enough to hit the tree shallow, it was doing wheelies! The kind of wheelies most people want nothing to do with, but as I have said before I am not most people. The wheelies where FUN! The first three wheelies the car crossed the 60 foot cones on the back tires! I’m @ ATCO during the summer series opening day driving a car that’s getting A LOT of attention not to mention the best announcer around (Lewis Bloom) was announcing so while Barney was doing all this anyone with in ear shot knew about it. After the third wheel stand in a row Bud and I threw in the towel in on how to get the li’l wheelie machine reined in to a safe range, some of the wheelies where only 3 inches from the back bumper. In the car it felt fine from the second run on but Bud wanted it lower, He was being the same great coach he has always been, he wanted me to stay safe so we called in Crutchy for a shock tune up. Crutchy’s recipe got the car to leave and start tripping the 60 foot clocks with the front tires. We lost some reaction time, but now it was safe. The loss in the first round of comp didn’t really bother me the fun factor in the car was on ten and I still had the bracket race the next day.
The highlight of the next day was a time shot with good friend and fellow Bud McNasby student and Cruthybilt powered Olds owned by Millard JR. We took a wheels up time run next to each other to get some pics for Bud and Crutchy. While I failed to execute good top end racing on the second round of competition I got beat my weekend was still a sucess. My car was on the trailer at the end of the day and though the homework list was a long list of things to change, the car was in one piece. Life was good. Bud stopped me to check and tighten my straps some more after Bob Sanders, Bud, and myself finished goofing around about racing @11 30 PM Sat night. I rolled out of the gate and started the long ride home
My ride was going great, not tired nor fatigued, great mood, when three hours from the time I left ATCO I had a car hit my car trailer from behind so hard that I knew everything had just changed. I also knew if I survived this wreck I would be another moment of proof of how lucky of a man I am. The scene afterwards with people running to see if you’re OK and cars still flying by in your debris is something I hope no one has to experience. A person comes to me as I am getting my bearings and tells me I needed to move because my truck was on fire. I then remember I have race fuel in the back and I command the folks who are rushing to our aid to get to the other side of the highway because if my truck lights on fire and the fuel lights we are SCREWED. I tear open the door and get to the other side of the highway myself. The car that hit me is behind my truck. There’s a guy who won’t listen to any of us about the very real threat of getting lit on fire because his friend (the driver of the car who hit me) is trapped in the other car in very bad shape. The cops arrive; as they are attempting to extract the guy still trapped his car begins to catch on fire faster. I am yelling to them to make sure they are aware of the fuel in the back of my truck and the diesel now pouring out of my truck onto the highway and how quickly it could turn volatile. These guys have an obligation with the job they do to help save this guy’s life and that is exactly what they continue to work on doing. Somewhere during all this my body starts shaking violently from the adrenaline. A guy comes and tells me the guy who hit me had hit him several miles earlier and he had been chasing him as he saw my accident. Another guy likely with medical training hung with me until the ambulance arrived. He was chatting with me and doing a great job of making sure I didn’t go into shock. The ambulance arrives and they park 20 yards in front of my truck and the potential instant fire ball. I immediately inform them of the volatility of the fuel in the back and how we need to get away from it QUICKLY as they are strapping me to the board. The fire dept. gets there the paramedic in the back relays the message about the race fuel and the firemen then get the fire in the man’s car under control and I breathe a great sigh of relief. Now to see how bad my injuries are. By the way my race car and trailer are about 100 maybe 200 yards down the road resting safely on the trailer. I will find out a couple days later the car is damaged but besides that, it’s all good. My truck on the other had is a complete loss.
In the emergency room they have me take a breathalyzer and I pass with flying colors. The process there takes forever. By the time I get x rayed and I am ready to make the call home I am dreading its 5:55AM. These hours in the emergency room are some of the loneliest I have felt in my life. The call to the wife I am dreading is not because I am afraid of how she will respond but because it’s a time right now I need to be well enough to be there for her. For twenty years Wendy has ridden the roller coaster with me that is our life. About a month ago my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s very early on and very treatable. Today(April 10th as I write this) @ 4 pm we go to find out what that treatment is and when it begins. The loneliness I was feeling was the fear I wouldn’t be able to be there for the only person who has been strong enough to put up with a very damaged soul such as me for twenty years plus.
The officer came in at some point during my ER stay to inform me the accident is an active DUI investigation and from the damage caused by the collision the other driver will also be charged with reckless driving. Courts and lawyers will decide his fate but I empathize with this man. I know that may sound completely absurd but there is a lot of irony to me being hit by a drunk driver. I have been clean and sober twenty years. At the age of 15 I was sent to treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. I got clean and have been ever since Dec.7th of 1991 at the age of 21. May whatever higher power there is have mercy on the man’s soul who I could have been if I had not gotten the help I needed a long, long time ago.
My crazy friends and I have a plan in place to get me to the track this year for the opening day of points @LVD. Some people won’t understand how the hell you could go racing that with all that’s going on in your life. I am not asking anyone to understand. The ones who care for me get it and are by my side.
If your into prayer, please keep my family and me in yours as my wife begins a battle all too many know too well.