The giddy smiles said it all after spinal cord injured participants took a 135 mile per hour spin at Dover International Speedway with Martin Truex Jr. in an adaptive race car donated by Furniture Row Racing.
Kelly Brush, a paraplegic and skier from Charlotte, Vt. was one of the 10 participants Thursday, who got to experience the thrill of a few laps around the Monster Mile.
“What an incredible experience to say the least,” beamed Brush after exiting the race car. “What struck me was how loud it was. It was so fast I was pressed up against the side of the door the whole time. It was awesome, a really cool experience. I kept thinking Martin won’t hit the wall because that would be really bad but it felt like he was going to. I now know he was just taking a casual ride. He goes a lot faster in his race car.”
Brush and other spinal cord injured got to drive the car which had special hand controls linked to the accelerator and braking.
“It’s neat to see how Dr. Falci and his team are using technology involving racing and race cars,” said Truex, who is the points leader in the NASCAR Cup driver point standings. “For me honestly it was just fun to take these guys for a ride to show them a little of what we do and giving them a feel for the Monster Mile. I had a great time.”
Known as NeuroGroove RaceDay, the event is a program aligned with Falci Adaptive Biosystems and its cutting edge technology to maximize the impact of bringing mobility to paraplegic, quadriplegic and disabled individuals. The founder of the program is Dr. Scott Falci, chief neurosurgeon at Craig Hospital in Denver.
“It brings a huge smile to my face just watching their joy,” said Falci about the reaction by the spinal cord injured after the race car ride. “For me it is so inspirational. We’re making progress in baby steps, but adaptive technology can really improve their lives. When you’re spinal cord injured there are so many things you may not be able to do – walk, feed yourself, make a call on a cell phone, cook for yourself so anything that can make their lives easier is extremely helpful.
“A special thank you goes out to Barney Visser (Furniture Row Racing owner) for donating the adaptive race car and to all of the Furniture Row Racing personnel who helped in the construction of the car. They made this day possible and everyone greatly appreciates their involvement.”
Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing said, “This is an awesome project for Furniture Row Racing to be associated with. To be involved in a project that actually makes a difference in somebody’s life makes us feel really satisfied to take part in this kind of a program. Stay tuned, there’s a lot more exciting things to come. Technology is rapidly advancing.”
FRR PR/Photo CIA Photography