After crash at Claremont raceway, driver on the road to recovery

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    David Lescord, of Ascutney, looks over his son Tyler Lescord’s wrecked race car at his home in Claremont, N.H., on Friday, May 20, 2022. Tyler Lescord crashed on the track at Claremont Motorsports Park on April 29, suffering two collapsed lungs, being hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, where he is recovering. "He's already talking about going back racing," David said. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

  • Chris Colburn, of Claremont, is displaying Tyler Lescord's number 15 on his newly finished street stock car. Colburn rents shop space from Tyler Lescord, who is in the hospital recovering from a racing crash, in Claremont, N.H., where the car was parked before going to the races at Clarmeont Motorports Park on Friday, May 20, 2022. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • At his son Tyler's home and shop in Claremont, N.H., David Lescord, of Ascutney, right, helps Chris Colburn, of Claremont, left, load up his car to take to the races at Claremont Motorsports Park on Friday, May 20, 2022. Tyler Lescord crashed on April 29 and David Lescord largely credits an encouraged, but not required piece of safety equipment called a HANS (head and neck support) Device with saving his son's life. A group of Colburn's friends recently pooled their money to purchase him a HANS Device at a cost of roughly $500. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 5/21/2022 2:53:24 PM
Modified: 5/23/2022 9:30:37 AM

CLAREMONT — Driver Tyler Lescord appears to be recovering well from injuries he sustained three weeks ago in a crash during a race at Claremont Motorsports Park, according to Lescord’s family and friends.

On April 29, Lescord, 36, was driving in the Late Model series contest when he and another car touched tires on the front stretch. Lescord’s car veered sharply into the concrete wall off the first turn at more than 80 miles per hour.

“I was scared to death,” said David Lescord, Tyler’s father. “I have been racing since the late ’70s, and that was the hardest hit I have ever seen.”

David Lescord, 60, of Windsor, shares a racing team with his son and was watching the race from the pit when Tyler crashed.

“It was just (a case) of ‘rough racing,’ ” David Lescord said in an interview this week. “They were banging their wheels at the flag stand as they were going into a turn.”

On Friday, David Lescord was back at the speedway in Claremont, helping with a friend’s car. Tyler Lescord remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, where he was transported after the collision, though Lescord is encouraged by his son’s recovery.

Despite multiple injuries, including 13 facial fractures, ligament damage and an injured pelvis, Tyler Lescord is responding well to treatment and is now breathing independently without the support of a ventilator, his father said.

Doctors initially supported Tyler Lescord’s breathing by inserting a tracheostomy tube out of concerns of severe lung damage.

During the crash, Tyler Lescord’s lungs were momentarily compressed from the impact when his body lunged forward into the vehicle’s restraining harness, Lescord said, adding that his son’s large frame — 6 feet, 3 inches and 340 pounds — contributed to the force of impact.

Doctors removed Tyler Lescord’s tracheostomy tube last Friday and are working with him this week on speaking, which can be initially difficult following a tracheostomy, David Lescord said.

In “the last four days, he has really come a long way,” Lescord said about his son’s respiratory recovery.

Doctors indicated that Tyler Lescord could be released from the hospital in six weeks or sooner, now that concerns about his lungs have eased, according to David Lescord.

David Lescord anticipates that his son will be able to resume the racing season at some point, at least in time to participate in Oktoberfest at Lee Speedway in Lee, N.H., a three-day event to close the New Hampshire stock car racing season.

“If he wants to race, we will be racing,” David Lescord said. “We have two more race cars, so it’s a matter of what he wants to do. There’s no restrictions from the doctors as of right now.”

Stock car racing carries the risk of injury, like any sport, Lescord said, though racing is safer today than at any point in the sport’s history. Lescord credits the evolution of vehicle-restraint harnesses and the driver’s seat as the biggest improvements to driver safety. Today’s driver seat, called a containment seat, is designed to wrap around the side of the driver’s head and upper torso. The harness system secures the driver’s body and head to the chair to prevent the driver from being cast from the seat during a crash or the driver’s head snapping forward and risking a neck injury.

Thirty years ago, when David Lescord began racing, stock-car seats were a fiberglass bucket seat that lacked the additional body protection and containment ability.

“The containment seat and harness device is probably what saved (Tyler’s) life,” Lescord said. “If this had been a fiberglass seat, he would have flown out of the car. … That’s how hard his car hit the concrete.”

Speedways also conduct inspections of every race car to reduce the risk of an engine failure or unsafe vehicle during a race and on-site emergency crews are well-trained to respond to vehicle crashes, according to David Lescord.

“It’s as safe as it can be,” Lescord said. “The cars are very well-built, and the safety equipment is as good today as you can get. But it’s a sport. You take a chance every time you strap in.”

Tyler was in another major wreck 10 years ago at the Claremont raceway, when his vehicle lost traction on a turn, causing his car to turn sideways. Another race car collided directly into Tyler’s driver’s-side door.

“He had to be airlifted that day to Dartmouth, too,” Lescord said, though the collision was nowhere near as severe as the one on April 29.

Mike Parks, operator of Claremont Motorsports Park, did not reply to multiple requests for an interview.

Tyler Lescord’s health insurance through his employer, Hypertherm, is expected to cover most of his medical expenses, though friends and supporters are also raising funds and donations to assist with additional costs.

Debbie Fitzpatrick, a registered nurse and a friend of Tyler Lescord, said that health insurance will not cover costs such as physical rehabilitation equipment, which he will need in the next phase of recovery. Fitzpatrick, whose husband is a co-owner of Maple Lanes bowling alley in Claremont, raised $500 during a fundraising event at Maple Lanes on May 14. Fitzpatrick also plans to hold a second fundraiser, a chance auction, when Tyler starts physical therapy.

Another friend of Tyler Lescord, Mercedes West-Sabins, owner of Wade’s Ice Cream, raised $3,935 in total donations for her friend, including $935 from a milkshake-themed fundraiser called “Shaking it for Ty.” West-Sabins said Wade’s sold 374 milkshakes during the event.

Dale Girard Jr. of Golden Cross Ambulance, another close friend of Lescord’s, encouraged people to print out a sketch of Lescord’s race car and color it to help lift his friend’s spirits. Girard also found people and businesses who donated $1 per submitted sketch for up to $100. The colored sketches were delivered to Lescord to decorate his hospital room, Girard said, and the money went to help the family with gas, food and other bills.

Many people, businesses and organizations are donating money, David Lescord said, from churches and youth groups to individual friends and neighbors. The racing community has also reached out to the family, including operators of New Hampshire speedways and race car drivers throughout the region.

“There’s been such a huge outpouring,” Lescord said. “The amount of people has been amazing. It’s not like he’s a celebrity.”

CORRECTION: Debbie Fitzpatrick is a friend of Tyler Lescord, an injured race car driver from Claremont who is on the road to recovery. An earlier version of this story included an incorrect last name for Fitzpatrick.




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