NASCAR driver and Chase contender Martin Truex Jr. experienced a new form of cutting-edge technology that will enable spinal cord injured and disabled individuals to participate in motorsports.
Truex attended Wednesday’s (Oct. 7) Falci Adaptive Motorsports NeuroGroove RaceDay at Pikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR) in Fountain, Colo., giving rides in an adaptive stock car to paraplegic and quadriplegic individuals around the 1-mile oval.
“What an awesome day to be a firsthand witness to some incredible technology,” said Truex. “Life is about giving back and Dr. (Scott) Falci and his partners are doing just that. To see the joy of the individuals I gave a ride to was very inspirational.”
One of the individuals who rode with Truex was Denver resident Stewart Lundy, a paraplegic who experienced a range of emotions as a passenger in the adaptive car. When the ride was completed an overjoyed Lundy said, “And he (Truex) gets paid to do this! I need to reassess my life goals. That is probably one them now. I loved every minute of it -- I’m coming down from an adrenalin high.”
The modified race car that Truex drove was donated to Falci Adaptive Motorsports by Furniture Row Racing. A number of employees at the team shop in Denver volunteered their time to help in the transformation of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car into an adaptive race car for spinal cord and disabled individuals to drive.
“I wanted to add another adapted sport for the spinal cord and disabled population,” said Dr. Scott Falci, a neurosurgeon at Denver’s Craig Hospital. “Motorsports is a real exciting sport and we’re utilizing the No. 78 Furniture Row car as a platform to get involved in a new adaptive sporting event and also getting involved with the NASCAR community.”
Falci added, “Barney Visser (Furniture Row Racing team owner) immediately loved the idea. He donated the race car and the guys in the shop worked many extra volunteer hours to help make this happen today. And to have Martin Truex Jr., who has plenty on his table right now competing for the NASCAR championship, to come all the way to Colorado from North Carolina to take part in the event was truly spectacular.
“The emotional thrill of having Martin and his Furniture Row race car was an uplifting experience not only for the spinal cord injured individuals and their families but for all of our partners who have been passionately working on this new adaptive technology.”
Falci Adaptive Motorsports has an impressive list of partners including U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, FalconWorks, RaceKraft & Design, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Furniture Row Racing.
One of the highlights of the day was a demonstration of smart glasses technology enabling individuals to drive a car or wheelchair with head movement.
“Dr. Falci and his partners are developing life-changing technology and we are thrilled to be involved in this altruistic endeavor,” said Joe Garone, president and general manager of Furniture Row Racing. “It was an overwhelming experience to see the excitement of each spinal cord injured individual who rode with Martin at PPIR. We are proud to be affiliated with Falci Adaptive Motorsports.”