Whether you’re working underneath your own passenger car or on a race car, you have to have a lot of trust in whatever it is that’s holding a couple thousand pound object from falling on top of you. For Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series crew chief Frankie Kerr, a car falling on top of you comes with the territory of working on race cars for a living.
Prepping the #72 Bad Boy Mowers Chevrolet for TriStar Motorsports, the 3,300 pound car fell on top of Kerr as he was working underneath the car Friday. Along the tight quarters of Bristol Motor Speedway’s pit lane (track is too small for garages), Kerr was working underneath. Kerr said that the jack must not have been completely in and as he went under the car and the jackman gave the car one more pump to make the car higher, the car fell off the jack on top of Kerr. The crew quickly jacked the car back up so it was off of Kerr but Kerr said “It landed on me and basically squeezed the air out of me.”
After being in the hospital for a few hours and was treated with a broken scapula, bruised ribs, bruised sternum and cuts along his body, Kerr came back to the track and will be back to work on Cole Whitt’s ride Saturday. Kerr didn’t really think twice and didn’t really make having a car fall on top of you seem like it was that big of a deal.
“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].”
The #72 car that Kerr is a part of is one of the lower funded independent teams of NASCAR. They don’t have hundreds of crew members back at the shop and just quickly insert someone when they’re injured. Many of the crew members on these teams are doing it for little money (or nothing at all) and are competing for the love of the sport. While it would be entirely understandable for Kerr to maybe take it easy for tonight’s race, he’s not missing a race under the lights at Bristol for anything. Even a car falling on top of him isn’t going to keep Frankie Kerr back.
[ESPN/Photo: Bob Pockrass/ESPN]