A father ran onto the track last weekend to pull his son out of the wreckage of a burning race car, at a NASCAR-sanctioned race.
Racer Mike Jones smashed up his No. 39 car at the South Boston Speedway near South Boston, Virginia, during a June 16 race. The car quickly burst into flames as the volatile fuel took a spark. But standing in the pits was his father and crew chief, Dean Jones, and dad was the first to hit the track to extract his son from the burning wreckage, USA Today reported.
“I just had a single focus: Getting my son out of that burning car. Nothing else mattered,” Jones later told NBC News.
The car was a total loss even though after his son fled the elder Jones leaned back in the car to pull the lever to initiate the in-car fire suppressant system. But his son was uninjured and is ready to race again, the Joneses reported.
Dean Jones ran to his son’s side despite lacking fire retardant gear or firefighting tools. Indeed, this fact earned him a penalty for running onto the track ahead of the crew equipped for the purpose.
NASCAR reported that Jones was cited for breaking the rules by running onto the track. He will serve a probationary period for the rest of the season, the racing authority said.
“We have sat down with Mr. Jones and discussed what transpired on Saturday, and he fully understands our position on non-safety personnel entering the track surface during an event. We are all grateful that there weren’t any injuries, and we look forward to getting back to racing,” NASCAR said in a statement reported by ESPN.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.