ROAD TO RECOVERY CAN'T BE SHORT ENOUGH FOR BEERSby Mike Twist
Hardcore Racer Doesn't Want to Be on The Shelf, He Wants to Be Racing a Modified Again
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour fans were given a pretty good scare on Sunday afternoon during the Icebreaker at Thompson International Speedway (CT). Eric Beers spun into the frontstretch wall coming out of turn four and hit it flush with the left side of his famous Boehler #3 Modified. With the angle that he hit at, all of the energy from the wreck was absorbed by the car and the driver sitting inside of it. And there was a lot of energy to be absorbed, Beers had just started accelerating out of the turn when he turned around.
When the window net on “Ole’ Blue” didn’t go down, fans got concerned. When rescue crew came over and cut the roof off the car, fans got even more concerned. Some movement was seen from inside the car and when Beers was loaded onto the stretcher, he moved his legs. This helped ease the fears of the fans, but we still didn’t know just how injured that Beers was or wasn’t until the race was over and done with.
As it turns out, Beers needed to be cut out of the car because although his injuries weren’t traumatic, they were very painful. Beers suffered a broken collarbone and a few broken ribs. Both injuries will hurt pretty badly for awhile and keep him out of his racecar for a little bit, but are also expected to heal fully.
This week, Beers has been resting up at his home in Pennsylvania, already looking forward to his recovery.
“I’m doing pretty well,” said Beers. “I’m healing up pretty fast. I’ve got a broken collarbone and a couple of ribs, but other than that, everything else is good. My neck feels good and so does my back. My head’s clear, I never blacked out or got dizzy.”
In fact, Beers can recall the entire wreck just like if he had just walked out of the car and over to the PA announcer.
“I remember everything,” said Beers. “We had that restart there and we got going. We were a little bit loose up off the turn all day. The guys did a good job tightened it up. I lost radio contact with the guys after one of the wrecks. I don’t know if it jarred one of the radio wires loose or what. We went back green and I got under a few of those guys on the bottom there. I wanted to get by Howie [Brode] in the #96 and I got under him getting in the middle of turns three and four.”
Then all hell broke loose.
“I was driving up out of turn four and there was some speedy dry down there,” said Beers. “I caught the speedy dry in the right spot and when I went to save the car, Howie was right where I needed to be to save it. I just caught his left front and it turned me around the other way.”
Once the car stopped, Beers tried to get out just like normal, but he knew right away that things weren’t normal.
“I’ve seen pictures of it on the Internet and that’s it,” said Beers. “It took a hard hit. They were waiting to get all of the panels off it to tell, but pretty much they are going to have to rebuild the whole thing if they are going to run this car ever again.”
The parts of the car that needed to hold up in the crash did though. Beers is very glad that his safety gear did its job.
“It was definitely the hardest hit that I’ve had and everything did its job,” said Beers. “The seat that Randy LaJoie and his guys built down there [in North
If you look closely at both photos, you can see how well the driver's compartment held up in the crash.
“I knew that my collarbone was hurt because I couldn’t get my window net down,” said Beers. “I reached over with my right hand and felt my left collarbone and felt the break in it. The biggest thing was that I couldn’t catch my breath because my ribs were cracked. Just moving and trying to get out of the car was really bad. Once that I found out that I had cracked ribs and nothing else was wrong, it was pretty easy. I knew not to move around much.”
Beers hasn’t seen the car yet, but he knows from phone conversations with the crew and photos that he has viewed online that the damage to it is pretty extensive.
“It was bad on Sunday when I was in the trauma room,” said Beers. “I had a lot of time to think lying there. I was pretty upset with myself getting a good ride like that and getting into a wreck like that. I was thinking that the whole season was gone and that I blew my big chance. Then Michael [Boehler] came in and talked to me. He was one of the first people in there and he told me that it wasn’t going to be so bad. We’d only miss one race and we’ll get it back. It should work out good. I should be back for the next Stafford race and we’ll just keep plugging away.”
The plan that Boehler came up with includes a pretty
The #3 car didn't look pretty after the race, but it did it's job. NASCAR impounded the car and looked it over thoroughly before releasing it to the team and they apparantly agreed that all of the safety equipment worked just as intended.
Beers was all smiles before Sunday's race. Here he sits on the grid with his new ride. (51 Photos)
Carolina] worked. Who knows what would have happened if I had a cheaper seat in there?”
Beers is known in the Modified community as being quite the racer. He’ll race on the Whelen Modified Tour, he was at Florida Speedweeks, he runs as many open shows and Race of Champions Modified events as he possibly can. So when he had his 2005 season interrupted in his debut race aboard the Boehler #3, the pain of missing races might have outweighed the physical pain that he was in after the crash.
good choice for a fill-in driver. 2003 NASCAR Modified champion Todd Szegedy will drive the #3 in the Spring Sizzler at Stafford.
“It’s great that Michael got Todd lined up to drive the car,” said Beers. “It’s great for the whole team to keep the owner’s points up. I know that he will do a great job.”
With nearly a month’s break before the next Tour race, that might be the only race that Beers will need to miss. Then again, Beers admits to trying to figure out a race to race at the Spring Sizzler anyways.
“If this race had been three weeks away instead of two, I would have tried to at least run part of it,” said Beers. “But it was too close. Three weeks, maybe. But two weeks, I don’t think that the bones would have mended enough to get me in and out of the car quick enough. If I got stuck and one of the guys tried to help get me out, it might pull a bone apart or something.”
Because of his injuries, Beers spent a night in a Massachusetts hospital. It was most a precaution though.
“They were thinking about releasing me on Sunday night,” said Beers. “I told the nurse that I had a five hour
Beers looks forward to getting back behind te wheel.
Even while Beers was lying on his back, he was thinking about his racing plans.
ride home and it was already nine at night, so they thought about it and talked to the doctor. Then they decided to keep me there and run a few more tests on me Monday morning. I think that it would have been a tough ride if I had gone home Sunday night.”
When Beers got home, he was greeted with dozens of phone calls and messages from concerned competitors and friends.
“I just can’t believe it the number or people calling me to see if I’m alright,” said Beers. “They’ve also been calling Michael [Boehler] up at the shop and asking about me. The outpouring of people who want to know that you are OK is amazing.”
Although Beers is still healing up, he knows exactly where he’ll be next weekend. He won’t be able to drive his car at Stafford, but he’ll be at the track with his team nevertheless.
“I’ll be up there for the weekend and help out as much as I can,” said Beers.
And that is definitely the sign of a man who really loves his job.