I just woke up but I wish I was still asleep. The events of yesterday will not be forgotten for a very long time and I think I will be feeling them for the next few days to come. What happened? If I told you right now it would be a short blog post, right?
This past weekend was round four of the USAC Generation Next tour and what a month of March it was; four races in four weekends. This past weekend we were in Nashville to conclude the month. The weather was slightly better than the low 40's that greeted us last year, but it did rain on Saturday continuing our streak of rain at events outside of Phoenix.
Anyway, flash forward to yesterday, the racing was going along great and the track proved to be ultra competitive. We saw three, four, and one time five wide racing. There was plenty of passing and being the chief starter gives me the best seat in the house to watch the fantastic racing that was on display. With close racing comes contact and we had our fair share of spins yesterday. There was one spin however that started minor and turned into serious in a blink of an eye.
Off of turn four headed to me 2nd place made slight contact with the leader which turned the leader around. I instantly flew the yellow flag and I had my head turned looking at the car stopped hoping all the cars behind would miss him. Then, I turned my head towards turn four and I saw two cars hooked together headed towards the wall and the last thing I remember while looking that way was a blue car starting to go into the air.
The next few tenths of a second I don't fully remember. Debi Supan, who was at the entrance to the scalehouse (and drove me and my car home yesterday so here's a big shout out of thanks!) said I quickly turned my head and body as to brace for impact. She commented that my face had no sense of fear in it but a dire look of, "uh oh, this isn't good."
I don't remember the impact but I do remember a loud noise. The next thing that I recall was being in an awkward position and I had just enough breath to give a slight "argh" noise and then I realized I couldn't breathe as the breath had been knocked out of me. To give you a better idea of what happened, here is the video of it, also please note that all the drivers were fine:
As the video shows the concern was immediate as many people over to see how I was. Over the next 20 minutes or so I was amazed at how many people were around me. In this series, as with any sport, there can be disagreements between officials and parents, or between parents themselves, but while I was down there was an eerie unity. I say eerie because I often seem myself as simply the flagger and I don't go out of my way to know who people are just because that would require socializing and having Asperger Syndrome the way I do socializing is something I try and avoid. And yet, yes, and yet even though I may not now who everyone is everyone seems to know me and the level of concern, and support that all who were around me showed was enough that, as I write this, I'm on the brink of tearing up.
I spent the rest of the afternoon in the hospital. A couple of people from the track went with me and stayed with me which was a huge boost to the way I was feeling. Also, the heavy pain meds also put me in a happy place. After numerous X-rays and a CT scan my hip and ankle were shown to be okay and the doctor suspected that I had a broken rib. All in all I would say I was lucky as it could have been worse.
Right as I was about to be released another person from the track showed up. He was holding something and he mentioned that all the feature race winners get a guitar and he told me the drivers decided that I should get one so a bunch of the drivers signed it and while in the hospital bed I was given it:
It's going to be a long week for me. I have so much to do and when the crash happened the only thing I was thinking, even above, "Am I okay?" was, "Oh no, is my April still going to happen?" I can now say, "Yes it will!" even if I am sore there is no amount of pain that is going to stop my Autism Awareness Tour of Amercia. In just six days I drive to New York City (and eight days until my book is rereleased), or perhaps ride if I'm still on pain meds, to kick off a 45 day journey. That's then though and today I need to focus on doing nothing so I can heal up.
Once again, thanks to everyone who was at the track who showed their support and to all those who have e-mailed or sent me a message on Facebook. It means so much to know that people care!