Larry Pearson – 12 Days, 6 Surgeries
There have been numerous calls for Bristol Motor Speedway to end its experiment with old-timer “legends” racing since the track’s March 20 event resulted in a savage late-race accident.
Larry Pearson, the driver seriously injured in that wreck, isn’t one of the naysayers.
“I don’t want this to deter Bristol from doing that race again for the guys,” Pearson said Tuesday from a hospital room at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. “Nobody can predict what’s going to happen. Nobody knew this would happen. It was a lot of fun for all of us to get to race.”
Pearson, 56, had six surgeries in the 12 days following the crash, which happened after his car blew a tire, hit the wall and was slammed in the drivers door at full speed by Charlie Glotzbach. Glotzbach was hospitalized for a few days but was not seriously injured.
Pearson suffered two broken legs, a shattered pelvis, two broken ribs, a broken ankle and a broken right hand. He has been hospitalized since the accident but said Tuesday he hopes to be released from the Charlotte medical center in the next day or two. He faces months of rehabilitation, some of which he hopes to accomplish at his home near Spartanburg, S.C.
“I was having fun while it lasted,” Pearson said.
“The doctors tell me I’ll be back to normal after the rehab. But I can’t be on my feet for 10 weeks – can’t put pressure on them. I’ll be in a wheelchair or in bed.”
Family members say Pearson has been in good spirits despite the trauma of the past three weeks.
David Pearson, his father, also drove in the Bristol race. His last visit to the hospital revealed the “normal” Larry, he said.
“I was up there to see him, and I was sitting in the room and kind of nodding off,” David said. “He was drinking water out of a cup with a straw, and he squirted some in my face. ‘You can’t nap,’ he said. He’s always trying to pull something on somebody.
“He’s had a good sense of humor about the whole thing. He’s going to be all right. It’s just going to take time.”
When the accident happened, the race was red-flagged. David Pearson’s car was among those parked in turn one while safety crews attempted to remove Larry Pearson and Glotzbach from their cars in turn two.
David Pearson said his other sons, Ricky and Eddie, were among the first people to Larry’s car after the crash.
“I didn’t know how bad it was,” David said. “Eddie came over to my car and told me Larry had broken his leg and said that I needed to come on and go with them to the hospital. He kept saying that, ‘You need to come on.’
“I saw him blow the tire and I went around him on the outside, so I didn’t see what happened. I talked to Charlie that night at the hospital for a long time. He said he didn’t have time to back off at all, that he hit him full blast.” SPEEDTV.com