His crash may have happened a little less than two years ago, but the night it did is one that Jamie Wagar will never forget.
In his first season of action with the Ontario Modifieds Racing Series, the Warsaw, Ontario native – who now makes his home in Buckhorn – was running in one of the show’s qualifying races. During the first couple of laps, everything was fine and the 45 year-old was looking for his next position in the running order. As the field got ready to enter the first turn a lap later, the car wouldn’t slow down no matter how hard he hit the brake pedal.
“The throttle was stuck wide open and I was along for the ride,” Wagar said. “I tried pulling-up on the accelerator with my foot, but that didn’t help. There wasn’t any time to attempt anything else. I knew it was going to be a hard hit and I tried the best I could to prepare for the impact. Like most racers, I’d crashed before but when the car hammered the concrete block retaining wall head-on at full speed, it was nothing like I could have ever imagined.”
Wagar says he’s thankful that Peterborough Speedway’s safety crew was on scene so quickly. They went through a series of questions to make sure he was aware of his surroundings and within about 10 minutes, an ambulance had arrived he was taken to the hospital, where he had surgery the next day and spent the next few weeks working toward his recovery. Wagar – who suffered a broken tibia, fractured vertebrae and other injuries – says there is no way to tell what happened the night of the incident.
“In the NASCAR world, its known as a ‘racing deal’,” the driver admitted with a smile. “The car got checked over, but the damage was so severe, it was impossible to reverse engineer the wreck. In hindsight, I might not have been hurt as badly if I wasn’t still trying to use the brake to get the car stopped or push myself back in the seat. Its always easy to second-guess things after the fact.”
Jamie Wagar says he and his wife Kelly are especially grateful for the support that was provided by the motorsports community during his recovery. Unable to work after the accident, the owner/operator of Ultimate Car Care received financial donations and assistance from a number of friends and competitors.
Looking ahead, the driver stated that he hasn’t lost the desire to get back on the track and has a Late Model and Thunder Car chassis that he’ll likely start working on once the weather gets warmer. His immediate plan is to spend most of the 2017 season helping-out the Robert James Racing team with their OMRS and Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series programs and will make the trip to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Short Track U.S. Nationals in May.
“I didn’t think I’d ever get hurt in a racecar, but the experience taught me a lot and I think I’m better prepared. If nothing else, maybe everything I learned can help someone else in the future.”
Prepared by: Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media