Fifty Plus Racing and Doran Racing, which prepares Fifty Plus Racing's Prototype that competes in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, are grateful that crew member Kevin Fox is still around and will be able to change tires on their #50 Riley BMW another day.
Fox was hit on pit lane during the second hour of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on Saturday, March 21, during a pit stop and driver change when room ran out as two other cars simultaneously drew abreast of the #50's pit box.
The Krohn Racing Ligier Judd #57 driven by Tracy Krohn was on the outside and the BAR1 Motorsports Oreca #16 driven by Tommy Drissi was in the middle. The #16 hit the left-front tire that Fox had just taken off the #50 and then hit Fox, knocking him off his feet and sending him airborne. He landed a few feet in front of the #50 as horrified fans and a nationwide TV audience looked on.
Fox was treated and released at a local hospital and miraculously was able to return to the track by 6 p.m. that evening.
On Friday he was resting at the home he shares in Erie, Colo., with his wife of 21 years and their 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son.
"I got a pretty good concussion, a hairline fracture in my right foot, and numerous bumps and bruises on my legs, arms and shoulders," said Fox. "A lot of the skin on my knees, legs and feet are yellow from the bruising. Thank heavens the car hit the tire first, or I probably wouldn't still be here."
He currently has a cast on his right foot from his knee to his toes.
Fox is a very experienced pit crewmember, as he went over the wall with various top IndyCar pit crews for 22 years before he switched to the sports car scene. He's been a weekend warrior for Doran Racing, which is based in Lebanon, Ohio, for two years. He builds motorcycles for a living, as he is employed full-time by Boulder Motorsports, a Ducati specialty shop based in Boulder, Colo.
"I did 22 years in IndyCar and never got hit," Fox noted. "I just strained my back before, but never anything like this."
Fox doesn't remember much about the accident. "I remember coming to in the pit box," he said. "I remember asking Noah [fellow pit crew member Noah Bailey of Mason, Ohio] to help me stand up.
"I'm just lucky the guy hit the tire first," he added. "I was picking up the front tire that I'd just taken off. Fortunately he hit the tire first, or I know he would have sheared one of my feet off."
He's also glad he was wearing a Bell crewman helmet along with a firesuit, gloves, balaclava, fireproof shoes and kneepads.
"I want to thank all the safety people and all the infield medical care people and the paramedics who transported me," he added. "They took excellent care of me, and I appreciate it very much.
"I also want to thank Fifty Plus Racing Foundation, Doran Racing and Kevin Doran for their concern and help," he said. "I really like working for Doran Racing. Kevin stood up for me, and he's just a class act. You have no problem putting in some extra hours for him because you know he has your back."
Fifty Plus Racing isn't scheduled to compete at the next Tudor races on April 18 at Long Beach, Calif. or at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 2-3, but Doran Racing will be in action at Laguna with the two Nissan 370Zs it fields in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
Fox hopes to be back with the team at that race, and also on hand when Fifty Plus tackles Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y., June 27-28.
Fifty Plus Racing is a unique team in the Tudor series, as it uses racing to draw attention to the Fifty Plus Racing Foundation's efforts to raise funds for Alzheimer's disease research. For more information on Doran Racing, see DoranRacing.com. For more information on the series, see IMSA.com.