One Year after a Violent Crash, Stivers Takes on St. Louis a Changed Man MADISON, Ill. (April 29, 2010) - Frightening and dramatic were just two of the words used to describe Rick Stivers' racing accident just a year ago at Gateway International...
One Year after a Violent Crash, Stivers Takes on St. Louis a Changed Man
MADISON, Ill. (April 29, 2010) - Frightening and dramatic were just two of the words used to describe Rick Stivers' racing accident just a year ago at Gateway International Raceway - the same quarter-mile racetrack he'll be piloting this weekend when the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series competes at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals. For the 53-year-old Kentucky native, that moment in time changed his life forever.
Last year during a qualifying run, the studs on the rear axle broke during a qualifying run, directing Stivers' car into the left retaining wall at an almost 90-degree angle. After a hard crash, the car tipped onto its front end and rolled once, sliding to a stop in the center of the track - right-side up.
"I still remember seeing the wall coming up in front of me like it was slow motion and thinking, 'ok, I'm going to hit it, I just have to keep the car from rolling over.' That was just before I slammed into the wall and rolled down the track," Stivers recalled.
Through the miracles of modern safety equipment, Stivers walked away from the crash without a scratch, despite the complete destruction of the '06 Dodge Stratus Pro Mod fielded by veteran drag racer and tuner Brad Anderson. The incident did, however, leave a scar on Stivers' psyche. "I'll never be the same," he said.
"That was really a turning point for me in a lot of ways. I wasn't injured other than the obvious strained muscles and bruises, but I really had to work through the mental side of things. It really shook me up. I did get back in the car later in the year, and was able to even win a race thanks to my family's support and this amazing team. But it still took me a while to really balance out what happened and just why I was able to get away with one."
This weekend, Stivers is looking to make a jump back into the points chase at the same track that took him out of contention for a championship last year - and he's determined to make a statement along the way.
"I'm a changed man since that crash. I don't get quite as worked up about things as I used to, and I put a lot more time into my family and my new grand daughter. I am still, though, a fierce competitor, through and through - and I'm in this race to win a championship.
"Trane has been my sponsor for the past two years, and their saying goes, 'it's hard to stop a Trane' - and that pretty much says it for me, too," Stivers said.
-source: stivers racing