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From The Driver's Perspective

Posted on October 29, 2011 at 11:35 PM

By: Greg Osman

Hey Guys!


So, as you are probably well aware of, I was in apretty bad accident on the 8th of October. First, I think I shouldpremise the setting before I get into the meat of the story.


Wehad never raced at this track before. Fayette County Speedway inBrownstown, IL is a big 1/4 mile clay oval. VERY wide. You could fit 3cars side by side easily, maybe even 4. It was a special race for ourclass, paying $2,000 to the winner (we normally race for somewherebetween $200-$300). This particular event was a 2-day show withqualifications (which our class does not normally do) and heat racesbeing held on Friday night and the consolations and main event beingfeatured on Saturday.


Friday night didn't exactly go thatwell. We qualified in seperate groups instead of one big group. Wequalified with 7 or 8 other cars, the same cars we would race againstin our heat races. The fastest in each group would start first, secondfastest start second, and so on. I qualified 7th in my group(terrible). Started 7th in my heat race and made my way up to a 5thplace finish but, unfortunately for me, they only transferred the top-4cars to the main event so I was going to have to run one of theconsolation races on Saturday. When I got the car back to the pitsafter the heat race, I found that the front nut on the left front uppercontrol arm was gone, causing the left front wheel to move around onme, and also causing the upper control arm to hit the steering shaft,making the car incredibly hard to control. Got it fixed and we wereready to go for Saturday night.


Saturday rolls around and I wasfeeling pretty good. Saw the starting lineup for the consolation race Iwas in and I felt even better. Starting P1; on the pole. I knew theywere only taking the top-2 cars out of each of the consolation races(there were 2) so I had my work cut out for me but I was feeling prettyconfident.


The race started and I jumped out to an early lead.Race was 10 laps in distance and about halfway through it, there was acaution. I had led the entire thing up to this point and hadn't had areal challenge yet but with the caution bunching the field back up, Iknew I was gonna have to get up on the wheel.


This is wherethings got bad. Everything happened so fast, I only remember certainparts of the actual accident. Here is an eyewitness account of what Iwas told had happened:


"You were leading the race. Caution flew,all bunched up, green flag, yougot in a little hot in 1 and 2, you slid up coming out of 2, now you'reinmiddle to high groove, car pulled to the inside of you, you got loose,hit the carinside of you which forced you back up the track hitting the nose ofyour car in the wallthen spun you around with your driver's door facing the oncomingtraffic, the idiots in the back weren't paying attention and hit youdead inthe door....the car that should have hit you missed you! The one whohit youwas in turn 2 when you were already stopped.."


I rememberlosing control. I remember being pointed towards the wall and Iremember being pointed towards the infield. After that, the next thingI know, I'm sitting in the middle of turns 3 and 4 trying to catch mybreath, which is hard as hell when you're strapped in a 5-point harnessand have a helmet strapped on.


I immediately knew somethingwas wrong as soon as I "came to" (I use this term loosely. I never lostconciousness). My knees were in excruciating pain and so was my leftelbow. The track worker took my helmet off and I looked down. My doorbars were resting aginst my seat and my cockpit area down by my feethad been compressed to a 6" tunnel, a far cry from the normal 2 feetthat it should be. my left side head support (mounted to my seat) wasnow sticking outside of my window. The EMTs rushed over andimmediately, the talk of air support started. Apparently, they took onelook at where my feet we're and called the helicopter. After tellingthem that my feet and ankles were fine, the helicopter was called offand they began the extrication. Because my feet were pinned so bad,they had to cut the bars around them to get me out. I had no idea whatwas wrong with me, but I knew there was something wrong with my leftelbow and my knees. I have never had a more intense pain than thatnight. It was simply awful. Everytime the JAWS or the SPREADER broke abar or weld, I felt it in every part of my body. After about 45 minutesof trying to figure out how exactly to get me out of the car, I toldthem that I would try and climb out myself, with everyone's assistance.I succeeded in doing so and was immediately put on a backboard. My feetnever touched the ground. I did the thumbs up to the crowd and they allcheered (I felt like a total badass at that point) and they loaded mein the ambulance.


They hauled me off the track and did theirtypical EMT stuff sitting off the track a little before we went to thehospital. My mom rode with me in the ambulance and I made some cracksabout putting her to work (she's a med tech and works in the lab of alocal hospital). Got to the hospital and they did all the textbookstuff. Went into X-Ray and as they were completed, I heard someone saysomething about a fracture. Came back and they said i fractured myelbow but they couldn't tell about my knee. In the hour that it tookthem to get me out of the car and the time it took to get to thehospital, the pain in the left knee had subsided substantially but thepain in the right knee and gotten worse. They told me that theycouldn't see anything in my right knee from the X-Ray so they whiskedme off to a CAT Scan. Came back and they told me that I had a fracturein my knee and a crapload of fluid buildup in both my elbow and knee.After more waiting around (you know how hospitals are) they finally letme leave. I left the hospital knowing that I broke my knee and elbowand not really knowing a whole lot else.


I was scheduled anappointment with an orthopedic doctor for that Monday and he scheduledMRIs for both my elbow and knee. I hate MRIs. I'm claustrophobic sothose 20 minutes each seemed like an eternity.


Went back tothe doctor that Friday and this is when it hit. He told me that I had afracture in the radius of my left elbow, right by the joint. He alsotold me that I fractured the femur (the strongest bone in the body) onthe inside of my knee. Then he said what I had been dreading. Therecould be possible tears in the ACL, MCL, and Meniscus. I could dealwith the broken bone but blowing my knee out is an entirely differentstory. He couldn't tell for sure because the swelling was still prettybig. So, as of right now, I have 4 more weeks in a knee brace thatallows absolutely no movement at all. At the end of those 4 weeks, Ihave no idea what will happen.


With all that being said, I amVERY lucky to still be alive. Numerous people have told me that.Everytime I look at the car sitting in the driveway, I wonder how Imade it out of that scrap of twisted metal alive.


If I could instill anything on anyone wanting to get involved in auto racing, in any form, it is this:

Ifyou cannot afford to have proper safety equipment, stay off of thetrack. Safety should be at the forefront of your mind before anythingelse.


Well, that's my story. Sorry if I rambled on at anypoint or gave too many details but I figured that if I am going to tellthe story, the entire thing needs to be told. I will try and keep youguys updated on my status as time goes on.

Categories: 2011

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