I have only told a few people about this, because I thought no one would believe me. This really did happen to me in 1986.
When I was leading the race, the flagman gave the lay over flag to a car I was approaching. The car came down on me, out of turn four and I struck the big tires on the corner. The impact sent my car up high into the air and landed directly on the roof. I felt a thud to my head. The first thing I remember was coming to consciousness in the car, but at the same time, I felt as if I was floating in the air above the car. I was looking down at what was happening with the fire and rescue team responding. I felt nothing physically, but could see myself grabbing at my chest.
I was seeing two viewpoints one from inside the car and the other view from floating in the air. I knew the car was on fire but could not move to try to get out of the car. One of my pit-crew ripped the hood open with his bare hands, so the firefighters could get to the flames. Rescue members that were inside the car with me had to get out of the car. The fire extinguishers they were using had filled the inside of the car so bad they could not breathe. Again, I was watching this while floating in the air. Today, this is still a very vivid memory.
Next, a rescue member jumped back into the car. With one kick, he knocked out the windshield allowing air to get back to inside the car. I continued to watch from both viewpoints while thinking that these guys are tearing up my car. When I came back to life, I first saw the lamps in the ambulance getting brighter and brighter and started thinking to myself, ‘Am I on my way to heaven?’ I spent the night in a hospital and was told that my oxygen levels were so low that I should not be alive. The next morning, still in critical condition, the doctors told me to remain in the hospital because my levels were not stable. But being hard headed, I told them I wanted to go home. It was not until I was writing this that I realized that a picture taken that night, the 6th picture from photographer J.C. Jones. It is the same spot that I was floating from, about ten feet from this ground photo.
I remember that I felt no pain, no worries. I was at peace knowing that I was in God’s hands. Nashville Fairgrounds Racing History shared this on my Facebook page Sept 16, 2014. I did retire after this year due to family pressures on me, but I am again back on the track, on God’s track, to compete with my son. Thanks be to God to all those that kept me alive, I will never forget what everyone did for me then and now. God Bless and have a great day.