Parsons recovering after scary incident at Selinsgrove

By Craig MurphyAugust 7, 2006

    National Sprint Tour co-owner Lonny Parsons and his family had already had a trying year.

    Parsons’ wife and brother both passed away earlier this year.

    In June Tim Shaffer, who drove the Parsons-owned Casey’s General Stores car on the NST circuit, was injured in a vicious crash at Knoxville Raceway. Shaffer continues to recover, while good friend Dean Jacobs has been filling in.

    Saturday afternoon, it seemed another tragedy had hit when Parsons was struck by a water truck at Selinsgrove Speedway in Selinsgrove, Pa.

    Parsons, 65, was crossing the track into the infield at turn 4 shortly after 4 p.m. when he was struck by a water truck that was working the track. The impact launched Parsons, who landed about 25 feet down the track. The impact could be heard clearly in the line waiting to get into the pits, which had opened a short time earlier.

    Parsons was airlifted by helicopter to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa. That was the facility that treated NASCAR great Bobby Allison after his career-ending crash at Pocono in 1988.

    Shaffer said that Parsons was doing better by Saturday evening with a cracked cheekbone and partially collapsed lung. Parsons also had cuts in his face, and bruises on his knees and back.

    Still, Shaffer and everyone else were thankful injuries weren’t worse.

    “We already had one miracle here,” Shaffer said.

    Jacobs saw the incident, and was also relieved his friend was doing well.

    “They did an MRI from head to toe, and nothing was wrong,” Jacobs said Saturday night. “That’s a miracle. I saw the whole thing. It was just an accident. I thought he was gone.”

    At Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland Sunday afternoon, Jacobs said Parsons continued to improve.

    “He has a cracked cheekbone and a small hole in the lung,” Jacobs reported. “That should be healed by the end of the day. He’s in good shape. He’s in real good spirits. If the lung heals like it has been, he could be released (Aug. 7).

    “Tim and (crew chief) Adam Kinnear were there with him,” Jacobs added. “They said Lonny was joking.”

    Jacobs shook his head when thinking about all the Parsons family has been through this year.

    “Some of that stuff was kind of expected, but Tim’s deal and this deal (with Lonny) you don’t expect,” he said.

    Kinnear and Shaffer came to Hagerstown after spending part of Sunday with Parsons.

    “He sat up and ate lunch in a chair,” Kinnear said. “He’s talking, and is in pretty good spirits. He was upset because he couldn’t have his cigarettes.”

    Neither Kinnear nor Shaffer would be surprised to see Parsons, who lives near Knoxville in Urbandale, Iowa, at the Nationals this weekend.

    “I would expect him to be there at least one day,” Kinnear said. “It was a real relief to see him doing well. He was in good spirits (Saturday), and looked much better (Sunday).”