March 7, 2016
The fire that ended my race at Circuit of the Americas last month and sent me to the intensive care unit of the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio (details here) also destroyed our on-board cameras. We were convinced that no video of the event existed, but last week's article drew over 50,000 readers and several previously unknown videos surfaced quite by surprise.
All three videos are very short and are presented uncut just as they were sent to Sopwith Motorsports.
The first video comes from the on-board camera of a fellow competitor, Paul Kruse. I am briefly seen on the right side of the picture, falling ungracefully out of our team's Porsche 944s in an effort to escape the blaze. My right arm is on fire, as can be seen in the sliding photo banner at the top of the page. The interior of the Porsche is a mass of flames as well, and my leg is still burning as I tumble backwards out of the car.
I would like to publicly thank Paul and all of my other fellow drivers for looking out for my safety during this incident. If any of them had failed to pay attention and steer clear of my car, the results could have been even more disastrous. The quality of drivers in this series is excellent. If you are a driver who raced past my burning car, thank you for your attentiveness and good driving.
I must also thank Impact Race Products with whom I've had a long-standing relationship since my desert racing days. It is frightening to think what might have happened to me had I been wearing anything of lesser quality.
Click here to watch the second video. It is courtesy of racing photographer Sergio Perfetti and begins perhaps fifteen seconds after I exited the car. The Porsche is already a mass of flames, and the yellow-uniformed EMT's on the far side of the car are attending me with great care that I truly appreciated. I'm unseen, laying on the ground beside the EMT's.
Click here to see the third video (also courtesy of Sergio Perfetti) which shows the EMT's helping me to my feet and into the ambulance while the fire continues to rage. Other units arrive on the scene but the fire gets completely out of control, forcing one of the emergency trucks to retreat. Even the videographer backs up when the flames soar twenty feet high.
Thankfully, by this time I was in the ambulance and safe from any further burns. I am grateful to series officials, track corner workers, and the Circuit of the Americas emergency team for their speed, professionalism and compassion.
***FROM SERIES OFFICIALS – To help them through this difficult time a Relief Fund project for Stephen and his family has been initiated. Please share this on your social media and help support the effort with any donation, big or small. Thank you.
Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions
Co-host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN
GT Challenge Series road racing champion
Driver, Boschett Timepieces/Impact Racing Products #21
[iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/6nmXIueTx1g” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen ]