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The Race2Safety Foundation has its roots in the life experience of former NASCAR Winston Cup driver Ernie Irvan, who in 1994 suffered horrific injuries from a crash going into Turn One at Michigan International Speedway.
That dayAugust 20marked another turn for Irvan, especially considering doctors were giving him just a one in 10 chance of survival.
What they didn’t know was Ernie was a fighterand not just as a fiercely competitive driver going wheel to wheel with NASCAR’s best for the points championship.
In short, Irvan would return to the racing circuit, winning yet again on a regular basis.
But the story doesn’t end there. Following a series of head injuries, including one in Talladega in 1998 and a severe injury accident suffered at Michigan International Speedway exactly five years after the 1994 incident, Irvan decided enough was enough. His days as a Winston Cup driver were over.
What Ernie Irvan also decided was to become a living advocate for others who had suffered similar injuries. In the process, he founded the Race2Safety Foundation as a means of promoting awareness and prevention of head injuries, especially among children.
Irvan has become an “expert” by experience, not by choice, having become aware of the personal and very real impacts a head injury has, and not just to the one suffering the injury. Indeed, the effects to the family are often just as serious, especially on the financial side as medical bills mount.
And that’s not counting what can become months of rehabilitation or the lingering effects of a permanent loss of function.
The focus on children is in recognition that head injuries often impact children and young adults in the prime of their liveswith life long implications.
The goal of the Race2Safety Foundation then is simple yet compelling:
To promote head injury awareness and prevention.
Born: January 13, 1959
Wife: Kim Baker Irvan
Married: November 21, 1992
Children: Jordan (August 12, 1993)
Jared (February 9, 1998)
Parents: Vic & Jo Irvan
- 15 career NASCAR Winston Cup victories
- 22 career NASCAR Winston Cup pole positions
- 68 Top-5's and 124 Top-10's and over $11 million in career earnings
- Made NASCAR Winston Cup debut at Richmond International Raceway on September 13, 1987
- First pole position came in 65th attempt at 1990 Valleydale Meats 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway
- First win came in 79th start at the 1990 Busch 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway
- Won the 1991 Daytona 500 driving for Morgan-McClure Motorsports
- Finished a career best fifth in Winston Cup driver points in 1991
- Suffered horrific crash at Michigan Speedway in 1994 while driving for Robert Yates Racing, made a miraculous recovery and returned to racing at the end of the 1995 season with two top-10 performances
- Led the most miles in the 1994 season despite competing in only 20 events
- Returned to victory lane in 1996 with wins at New Hampshire and Richmond