Veteran drag racer Dale Creasy has read a lot of fan comments over the last few days related to Barbara Nesbitt’s lawsuit against the NMCA, NHRA, Skinny Kid Race Cars and tech inspector Ted Peters. He’s refrained from casting his opinion into what has been largely a negative response from the drag racing community.
Creasy, a part-time Funny Car racer on the NHRA tour, understands the mental and physical anguish a driver goes through in the aftermath of a catastrophic accident. His accident was just like Nesbitt’s, in his car never hit the wall or flipped. In fact, just like her accident no one had a clue as to the hell which had transpired when the driveline failed while competing in an IHRA event.
Creasy suffered a transmission failure and the end result was a rotating piece which struck his leg over and over with the ferocity of a sledge-hammer. If not for a lengthy stay in a hospital and a multitude of surgical procedures, he could have lost the leg.
And, if not for a supplemental insurance plan provided by the IHRA, Creasy could have also lost everything he’d worked his entire life to own.
Creasy feels anything he says on the Nesbitt subject will likely throw fuel on the fire of public outrage. However, he would just like to see more racers protect themselves to prevent the medical bills which create even more pain.
Should a racer be faced with a similar crisis, Creasy hopes to provide a measure of what they should expect. He wants to help them avoid certain pitfalls.
The first trap can be falling into mental anguish over being hurt.
“I think when you get injured in the way I was, the first thought which comes to mind is your family,” explained Creasy. “I knew what I was going through but I imagine what they were going through. I knew I was hurt and the damage was done there. I just had to say after a while, God’s willing it will all work out.”
Creasy believes the anguish would have been further compounded by the bills related to his injury. He admits his bills measured in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and nearly topped one million.
“Even though I was covered, I saw the bills come in and nothing was cheap. Had I not have had any insurance I would have been totally out of business. I would have had to sell everything to pay the bills. I got lucky in my case but not every situation works out like this.”
Creasy said he counseled Nesbitt immediately following her accident and did his best to convey encouragement in her road to recovery.
“I went and saw her in the hospital,” Creasy said. “I looked at her and knew she had a long road ahead. Coming back from (my) injury was still fresh on my mind then, as I was still walking with a cane. My biggest hurdles were over and I knew she was just starting.”
What Creasy saw was the damage to Nesbitt's body. Her arm became entangled around a broken driveshaft which entered the cockpit. The end result of the incident left her with a shattered elbow, three broken ribs, broken fingers, bruised lung, laceration to her liver, and contusions stretching across her entire body from her collarbone to her knees.
“I didn’t know her before the accident but in knowing I had the ability to lend support by experience, I felt like I was helping,” said Creasy.
He also realizes had his insurance situation been different, suing would never have been an option and points out until someone has been placed in the situation of despair can they truly understand the reality of helplessness.
“There are those who are really close to you and have a good grasp of what it does to you and have a pretty good understanding,” Creasy added. “Until you are stuck there, six to eight months and confined to a bed, can’t go anywhere … it’s really hard to convey to people. This kind of stuff always happened to other people in our minds.”
Then and now, as Creasy admits, he accepted the risks when he built his drag car.
“We built our own racecars in-house with the help of Murf McKinney,” Creasy explained. “The cars are safe but there’s always the potential for something to happen. You don’t want it to but I’d be willing to say we are racing cars that are theoretically not supposed to do what they are doing. But, that’s the thrill of it. I assume the risks but also have to take the bad when it comes along.”
Creasy believes there is a lesson to be learned from this tragic turn of events. The biggest lesson is to ensure you and your crew members are covered before heading to the strip. Understanding the risks of drag racing should be paramount, but also backing up those risks could save you in the long run. It could be the difference between remaining solvent or going bankrupt.
This made the difference for Creasy.
“I made sure I had supplemental insurance and everyone who worked on my crew,” Creasy said. “I’m thinking if we can all take a little time and double check, or whatever, if, and I hope it never happens to anyone, someone gets in a position where they are severely injured they can concentrate on getting well and not worry about losing everything they’ve worked so hard for all of their lives.”
And if his advice helps one person, Creasy believes, his words are not in vain.
Editor's Note: NHRA and ADRL were also asked for information regarding their insurance programs yesterday, but had failed to provide as of this article posting.
All articles and photography published in CompetitionPlus.com are protected by United States of America and International copyright laws unless mentioned otherwise. The content on this website is intended for the private use of the reader and may not be published or reposted in any form without the prior written consent of CompetitionPlus.com.
|< Prev||Next >|