Steven Norman built a sprint car. He raced it, too. On Saturday, Aug. 31 he crashed.
He raced in the Labor Day weekend races at the Wild Bill Raceway in Ephraim.
On Friday, he won the first race and placed second in the second race.
On Saturday he took first place again in the first race. But, as he tried to pass a car in front of him during the second race, he took a spill.
It had rained that day and it wet down the track, making it faster than usual, Norman said.
“I got off the top trying to pass the guy on the outside and it just took me,” he said.
He slid sideways toward the pit entrance where there were large tractor tires acting as a barrier. He his the tires sideways, flipped and rolled about four times and came down on the tires.
The impact knocked him out.
“I was really dizzy and seeing stars. I checked my body, made sure nothing was broken,” Norman said. “I got out slowly. I was fine.”
His wife Tammy Norman took him to the emergency room at the local hospital. They took x-rays of his body to look for broken bones. There were none.
However, he did have a serious concussion and was advised to spend 10 days resting.
This wasn’t Norman’s first health scare.
Just over a year ago, a week after his daughter Nikole was married, he discovered he had Hodgkins Lymphoma LP, a form of cancer that originates in white blood cells.
Norman is in stage three and just completed his second series of chemotherapy.
He said all of his Moab-area sponsors – The Blu Pig, Elite Motorcycle Tours and Moab 4×4 Post – have been supportive of his racing. And all have experienced brushes with cancers, whether individually or through family.
Norman’s investment in additional safety equipment for his race car may have spared his life, or additional serious injuries. As a third generation racer, he was well aware of the dangers associated with racing.
“Safety is very important,” Norman said. “I’ve seen a lot of crashes my whole life, guys getting killed.”
His grandfather was a bootlegger in Missouri. As the makers of moonshine revved up their engines to be able to outrace officers, they decided to race one another to see who had the fastest car. It was the birth of NASCAR, and his grandfather was there.
“Dad built race cars,” he said. “My uncle and brothers have been racing for years.”
Norman won’t to let the cancer or the car wreck stop him and plans to rebuild the sprint car.
“Just get back in and go again,” he said.