Bodine not seriously hurt in wild truck accident By Dave Rodman NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran and former Daytona 500 winner Geoffrey Bodine escaped serious injury Friday afternoon in a wild multi-truck accident on the frontstretch at Daytona...
Bodine not seriously hurt in wild truck accident By Dave Rodman
NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran and former Daytona 500 winner Geoffrey Bodine escaped serious injury Friday afternoon in a wild multi-truck accident on the frontstretch at Daytona International Speedway just after the halfway point of the inaugural Daytona 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event.
However, Bodine, 50, was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Halifax Medical Center in serious but stable condition. According to DIS Director of Communications Glyn Johnston, at 6:30 p.m. ET Bodine's injuries included a concussion; multiple bruises and lacerations; a fractured, lacerated and burned right wrist; a sprained left toe; and a "non-surgical" mid-back fracture to a vertebra.
Johnston said the Halifax doctor told him Bodine would take longer to recover from his wrist injury than he would the back injury, which should only need to be braced.
"I've never had a wreck like that in my life," said Bodine in a prepared release that was distributed in the media center. "I was fully aware of the trouble down on the inside of me. I saw that they were coming up into me, and then I just went on a wild ride."
"My concerns are with the fans that were injured," said Bodine, who on Thursday failed to qualify for his first Daytona 500 since 1980, "and I wish them all the best. I want to thank everybody for all their support, and I want them to know that I will be fine."
By 7 p.m. ET, DIS President John Graham and Vice President of Operations Dick Hahne visited the infield media center to provide an update. "The first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona was a huge, huge success, other than the wreck," Graham said. "One estimation of that is how much fan interest there is, and by my visual estimation the crowd was between 80-100,000 -- a big hit; and by the quality of the race.
"The Daytona 500 is the Super Bowl of stock car racing. I think with what we saw today we have the Super Bowl of truck racing, as well."
Graham said more than likely, the trucks would return to Daytona International Speedway in 2001. He added that the safety systems performed as designed and were adequate.
Bodine's No. 15 Line-X Ford was struck no less than twice by other trucks as it caromed down the frontstretch. The truck was knocked up into the catch fence in front of the main grandstand and showed flashes of flame as it acted like a pinball gone berserk.
After a short period Bodine, who was running ninth in the 36-truck field at the time, was removed from the hulk of his truck, which came to rest upside down in the middle of the short chute between the start/finish line and Turn 1. He was transported by ambulance directly to Halifax Medical Center, which is only about a five-minute drive from the speedway.
Speedway Manager of Publicity Kathy Catron reported that driver Jimmy Kitchens from Hueytown, Ala., had been transported to Halifax where he was listed in stable condition and was under observation after undergoing a variety of tests. Kitchens was first taken to the infield care center, then was transferred to Halifax in a neck brace after complaining of neck pain and soreness.
Eight other drivers were treated and released from the infield care center following the accident including Lonnie Rush, Jamie McMurray, Lyndon Amick, B.A. Wilson, Rob Morgan, John Young, Jimmy Hensley and Lance Norick.
Catron reported that five unidentified spectators -- three women and two men -- were taken to Halifax with a variety of injuries ranging from a bruised lip, a head injury that she described as "not serious" and a fractured left upper arm.
By 6:30 p.m. three had been treated and released while two were admitted and were being prepared for surgery. One fan would have plastic surgery for a facial tissue laceration, while the other would have surgery for a fractured left upper arm. In addition Catron said four unidentified spectators were treated and released at the track's infield care center: Three for debris in the eyes and one for a right arm laceration.
Bodine's younger brothers Brett and Todd, who race in the NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division, respectively, were watching the race on television in an infield motorhome lot and immediately left the track to visit their brother, who will be 51 in April. Todd Bodine returned to the track and went to the infield media center and gave an update to the media at about 1:40 p.m. ET.
"It was a pretty scary moment -- I was scared stiff," said Todd, 35, who ran in the final practice for Saturday's NAPA Auto Parts 300 later Friday afternoon, posting the 19th-best time. "The main thing in an accident like that is his head and (Dr.) Bruce Kennedy came out at Halifax and told us he was fine."
The youngest Bodine brother said his brother's physical conditioning and NASCAR's regulations had a lot to do with his condition following the crash, in which the truck's engine was separated from the chassis.
"Geoffrey's been on a strict workout schedule for about a year-and-a-half," Todd said. "He's in incredible shape and I'm sure that helped him come through this so well. All of the safety things NASCAR makes us do all worked and thank God they make us do 'em."
Todd Bodine was visibly shaken when he addressed the media.
"I've seen and been in some pretty violent accidents," he said. "But that was one of the most violent you'll ever see. To see the roll cage just sitting there, knowing there's a person inside it, and that it's your brother . . . it was one of the most terrifying things I've ever experienced and I hope everyone doesn't ever have to go through it."
The race was red-flagged for two hours, 23 minutes and 10 seconds in order to make repairs to the catch fencing on the frontstretch.
"We had eight four-inch posts that were hit and seven were replaced," Hahne said. "150 feet of catch fence were also replaced and there was no damage to the concrete wall."
Hahne said the wall is four feet tall and the fence, nine feet above that.
No less than 13 trucks were involved in the crash, which involved at least four trucks that were running in the top-10 at the time, including sixth place Amick, seventh man Morgan, Bodine and 10th place Rush.
The accident occurred as the tightly packed field of trucks passed the start/finish line to complete the 56th of 100 laps. Few of those involved knew exactly what had occurred, although television replays indicated Morgan and Amick had moved down and up, respectively, on rookie Kurt Busch's truck.
"Somebody got into the 46 car (Morgan) and turned him up into the fence," Rush said briefly after exiting the infield care center. "Then there was so much smoke I couldn't see anything. I checked up and then everything turned loose."
"I got a good run there, I was on the inside and I got hit in the right rear and got turned around," said Amick, who earlier had led the race. "I saw Bodine rolling over and I got hit again before I turned around again and came to a stop. I just want to thank (team owner) Ken Schrader for giving me the opportunity and the good Lord for keeping me safe."
Morgan had remained on the track under a previous yellow flag and also briefly led the race. He said he was not too sure what had happened, either.
"I think we were three-wide, and then I got hit in the left rear and got turned to the outside wall," he said. "It happened so quick I don't even know what happened. I just got tapped and it took off.
"It was just grab the wheel and go along for the ride. I got tapped, it set the truck sideways and I was along for the ride."