Crew Chief Kerr Talks Of Being Crushed Under Car

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 19 2017

Crew chief Frank Kerr had a scary and painful experience when his No. 72 TriStar Motorsports car crushed down on top of him. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Barry Cantrell)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

BRISTOL, Tenn. – TriStar Motorsports crew chief Frank Kerr sat in the cool lounge of his team’s hauler Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, his right arm in a sling, and calmly discussed an accident less than 24 hours earlier that left a 3,400-pound stock car sitting on top of him.

His right scapula was broken, his sternum and ribs severely bruised and an imprint of the car’s splitter line covered most of the front part of his body. But the 56-year-old Sprint Car champion and member of the Pennsylvania Sprint Car Hall of Fame knew his injuries could have been much worse.

“My rib cage collapsed and came back,” said Kerr, the crew chief for Cole Whitt in NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series. “I would have screamed louder, but I didn’t have any air left. When I say it pushed the air out of me, it literally did. They were concerned (at the track) that I had a punctured lung.”

The accident occurred Friday with 20 minutes remaining in the first practice session for Saturday night’s race. A crew member was jacking up the left side of the car so an adjustment could be made under it. Kerr was lying under the front of the car when he said it appeared the jack stand was going under the car.

“They had to pump it up again to get the jack stand under it and the jack rolled over,” Kerr said. “The car then landed on top of me.”

Whitt was in the car when the accident occurred and knew immediately his crew chief was in trouble by the way the car fell.

“It was a pretty helpless feeling,” Whitt said. “The worst part for me was not being able to see what was under the car. My first thought was it was on his head. I didn’t know where he was. I just knew he was under it.”

Kerr said he probably was under the car for 20 seconds before it was jacked off of him, but he admitted it seemed much longer. He was transported to a Bristol hospital, examined, given prescriptions and told “a bunch of stuff I’m supposed to do that I’m not doing” and released. His son, who was headed to Asheville, N.C., on business, immediately headed to the Bristol hospital.  Kerr would have returned to the track Friday afternoon, but his daughter, who lives in nearby Boone, N.C., wouldn’t permit it and made her father stay at his hotel.  

Kerr said his injuries were the most serious he had suffered since he stopped driving race cars.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 19 2017
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