Rev. Jeff Knight was taken to the hospital after the three-car pileup Saturday night, but he was back to work on Sunday morning.
The race-driver preacher hospitalized after a fiery three-car pileup during a race at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe Saturday night was on the pulpit Sunday morning.
“I felt that I needed to tell people I was the same Jeff coming out of the fire as going in, just a little more grateful,” said Rev. Jeff Knight of The Rock Church in Monroe.
Knight was racing in a Super Late Model race at the speedway when the engine of racer Trenton Moriarty blew on Turn 1 and the result was oil on the track and a crash involving Moriarty, Tyler Tanner and Knight.
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Track announcers described the fiery crash as one of the scariest in the 63-year history of the track.
Video of the crash had more than 100,000 views by midmorning Sunday on Facebook. Knight estimated that the cars were traveling at about 120 mph when Moriarty’s engine blew.
Knight, 47, said he was “speechless” when he saw video of the fireball around his car. He said he tried at first to fight the flames “then Tyler pulled me out. He got me by the shoulders.”
Knight said, “A driver’s worst nightmare is fire.”
Tanner and Moriarty did not require hospitalization.
Knight was taken to nearby Evergreen Health-Monroe and said doctors there consulted with burn specialists at Harborview Medical Center. He said neck burns were the most serious injury. The fire singed his eyebrows and nose hairs.
The race was delayed for 35 minutes after the crash and shortened the race from 100 to 75 laps. The eventual winner was Tom Berrow of Coquitlam, B.C.
One of the season’s biggest crowds, estimated at about 3,000, was at the track where the featured race was the NASCAR K & N Pro Series West 150-lap event won by Chris Eggleston of Erie, Colo.
Knight said he hopes that he and his crew can have his car repaired at least in time to race in September.
He said the crash scared his young daughter and he wants her to see him race and finish safely.