Saturday night, fans watched in horror as Dave Lape's red No. 22 modified hit the first-turn wall at Fonda Speedway, launched into the air, turned over and came to rest on the Fonda Speedway racing surface.
The safety crews removed the roof of the car to help Lape get out of the car, which he did and walked to the ambulance for a ride back to the pits. Later that night he was transported to the hospital for a checkup.
"I have been better," Lape said Wednesday. "I went to the hospital and had a CT Scan and nothing was broke. After a couple of days, though, I had a bad headache so I went back and had another CT Scan and that showed there was no bleeding, so that was good, but I guess I have got a concussion. My hands must have come off the wheel when I hit because they are all cut up. I am alright, but I am really sore. I take a deep breath and it hurts, but I just have to give it time."
The wreck put a minor setback in his farewell tour of the local tracks after announcing at the start of the season that after 50 years of racing this would be his last season of competition.
However, due to injuries and a wrecked car, the veteran Canajoharie modified pilot will be sidelined for a while.
"The doctors told me three to four weeks," Lape said. "He goes 'can you guarantee you won't get in a wreck?' and I could not do that. Then he said. 'You are not 30 years old anymore,' and told me I better stay out. I told him since I don't have a car so that won't be a problem."
Twenty years ago when Lape was in the thick of the DIRT Series championships and racing three nights a week plus following tours, that advice probably wouldn't have been heeded. I remember a night at Fonda where he tested his car with a broken leg.
That was then and this is now.
After leading the opening laps of Saturday's modified feature, Lape was running fifth and just finished lap 12 when the front end of the car locked up.
"The left front spindle broke off about at the starter's stand. I saw it break off," he said. "That is probably the worst one that could break because that is your steering and when it went, it broke the brake line too. So I had no steering and no brakes. I just hung on. I knew what was going to happen."
Although the car was mangled, Lape said it is fixable.
"Sunday morning at about 10 o'clock, there were 10 people here at the garage," he said. "Josh Flint, Matt Noles, my whole crew and the kids. By 1 o'clock the car was stripped. I am grateful for that. I just kind of took it easy."
What they found surprised everyone.
"The chassis, unbelievably, was not bent," Lape said. "I looked at the pictures and the tires took the impact. It did bend up the rear end and the front but the chassis is not bent. It is down to [John] Backazonis' right now and we are going to work on putting it back together. I don't know if we are going to get it done or not. I have another body here, which is too bad because that one is completely destroyed."
The first stop, other than Fonda Speedway, on Lape's Golden Anniversary Tour is scheduled for July 5 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
"We are still going to have Malta night," he said. "We talked to them I am just not going to race. We will bring the cars and Lew Boyd is still coming. We will just do the best we can do. I have a lot of people here that are willing to help. We don't know what is going to happen at the tracks. I have so many friends and sponsors. I just really appreciate all their help but all you can do is take it one day at a time."
The farewell tour includes stops for a mid-week show at Utica-Rome Speedway on Aug. 21 and Sept. 14 at the Track of Champions.
"At the hospital I thought we were all done, but now we are trying to come back," Lape said. "I am going to keep working on the car and try to get it back together. I do have another car, the Teo car. But we are a little worried about the motor because I was told those light weight crank shafts don't like flipping. I've got four weeks so we will see. All we can do is keep working on it."
Hanson wins at Glen Ridge
Craig Hanson is having a strong season at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.
On Friday, Hanson captured his third main event of the season, tying with Bobby Varin for the lead in that category. Rocky Warner is the only other driver to post a feature win so far this season at the Ridge.
Varin is on top of the point's standings in the division, which drew 16 cars last Friday; with Elmo Reckner is 10 points ahead of Hanson in second.
The Ridge has added a nice fan-friendly event to their night with an autograph session at Bob Lansing's photo booth. Hanson and last Friday's sportsman feature winner Greg Pessolano will be on hand this week from 6:30 to 7 p.m.
Christmas in July
With the help of "Santa Sowle," Albany-Saratoga has added to its July 5 purse.
The modifieds will run for $2,500-to-win; sportsmen $1,500; pro stocks $800; street stocks $250 and novice sportsmen $250-to-win. Plus there is a $100 bonus for the leader on laps 7 and 11.
This Friday, weather permitting, the novice sportsman division will not run heat races but instead will run two features and the street stock division will complete last week's feature and its regularly scheduled event.