NASCAR crew chief Frankie Kerr was underneath a 3,300-pound race car Friday evening after it fell on him. ESPN reports that the crash broke his shoulder blade and severely bruised his sternum and ribs. The very next day, Kerr, 56, strolled into Bristol Motor Speedway in a sling to work a 500-lap race.
Kerr crew chiefs for Cole Whitt and the TriStar Motorsports race team—a team which has significantly less funding than the bigger teams in the top-level Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and isn’t currently in championship contention. But Kerr is one dedicated crew chief. He’s broken his back three times while racing sprint cars, and ESPN reports that he didn’t think twice about coming to work the day after a car smushed him. From ESPN:
“It’s no different than [my injuries in] old Saturday night racing,” said Kerr, whose four sprint car championships have earned him a spot in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. “I’ve broke my back three times and that’s the second time I’ve broke the scapula. It’s nothing new.
“It never entered my mind [to go home]. I just won’t be able to help on the car as much. I’ll do what I can and call the race and go home and thank God we have a week off [next week].”
Kerr sounds like he needs a week off, since he told ESPN that the car left an exact outline of its front splitter on his body. Here’s how he described the car’s fall to ESPN, which he softened with his body at the price of an afternoon trip to the hospital:
“The jack was up, and the jack stand was going under and I saw the jack stand going under, so I went under [the car],” Kerr said.
“It must not have been high enough, and they hit it again with the jack and that’s when it fell over and the jack stand wasn’t in. It landed on me and basically squeezed the air out of me.”
Whitt finished 33rd in the race, but, you know what, Kerr deserves first in our hearts—after all, his has a bunch of bruised ribs around it.