“I got to drive a race car! There are some things that I’ve always dreamed of doing. This wasn’t one of them! But some dreams find you,” says Kelly Brush Davisson, a paraplegic. The offer to drive a race car came from the Craig Hospital in Denver where Kelly had spent her rehabilitation after her injury.
Kelly states there was a collaborative effort between a neurosurgeon at Craig, engineers at the Air Force Academy, and a Denver-based company called Furniture Row to develop a NASCAR with hand controls that people with disabilities can drive.
“Making a car with hand controls on its own is not super groundbreaking, but the team is collaborating on making cars that higher-level quadriplegics, with no arm or hand movement, can drive.”
Kelly got to ride shotgun with Truex Jr., a cup leader for NASCAR, and she also got to drive the car by herself. She says, “Initially I was more excited to drive myself, but once I got in the car with Martin I had such an awesome time! It was so fast and so loud! We only got to do a few laps each since we only had a few hours with the track to ourselves but it was plenty to see what that speed feels like and feel the forces you get at those speeds. It was awesome!”
Kelly admits she was nervous about driving the car herself, but in hindsight, she was not sure why because the governor was engaged in the car which made it drive considerably slower. “I went much slower than when I was with Martin (I was going about 90 I think) but it was incredible to get the feeling of driving on the track,” she says.
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