How a V8 Supercar driver saved a man's life

By on Friday, August 12, 2011

Online gaming has become increasingly more popular over the past few years, meaning games such as rFactor and iRacing attract many players. The latter of the games is known to be played by some famous names, including Dale Earnhardt Jr, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud and hosted a truly incredible story. Posting on the iRacing forums, Joey Schmidt said that a fellow racer’s carelessness probably saved his life. Even more incredibly though, the man that saved his life is a real racing driver; Shane Van Gisbergen, who drives for Stone Brothers Racing in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series.

He’s one of the promising young drivers, the Kiwi having debuted in the series in 2007 and eventually winning his first race in April this year. His championship positions indicate a driver improving with every season: 43rd, 15th, 12th, 6th and this year he sits 3rd and is still only 22 years old.

The actual event happened a few weeks ago at the Pocono Raceway (well, the fictional version) and this is what happened, in the words of Joey Schmidt himself.

“I did pretty good, better than I expected; running top 5. But during the race I began to feel pretty bad, just a nasty ugly feeling, but I kept on going. Till a caution came up, and a guy who ran into me while we were running under caution destroyed my car, I will come back to this guy later.
I tried after a repair to do some laps, but no way, and I began to feel even crappier then I did before, so I decided to quit because there wasn’t to gain anything and I really felt bad. So I shut off the computer and was wondering for a minute in my living room thinking ‘what was going on?’
My wife and Son were sleeping upstairs cause yet it was already in the middle of the night.
At this moment the s*** hits the fan pretty bad. I was getting light in my head, couldn’t walk normal anymore, and was hyperventilating.

“I felt I was in serious trouble, somehow I managed to get upstairs woke up my wife, she right away saw that something was wrong with me and called 911 (112 in my country). At this stage I was starting to pass out, I was soaked in sweat; my wife and son did everything to let me stay awake till the ambulance came. At this moment I had really much pain on my chess and was shaking from top to toe. Like my whole body was bubbling from the inside out.
When the paramedics arrived they right away did their job, and made me ready for a hospital ride.

From my house to the hospital is a 10 minute drive, but during this ride I went into a cardiac arrest and my heart stopped working. Lucky for me they were prepared for me and they shocked me right into my live again. In the Hospital they right away gave me a angioplasty treatment, and I was guarded for 24 hours.”

So obviously, that’s a pretty amazing tale. But then, Joey also talked about what could have happened had a careless racing driver not hit him…

“What if: ..... The guy who wrecked me in the race, Mr Shane van Gisbergen , if he did not wreck [me], I would have moved on during the race , would I have made it or would my wife [have] found me in the morning, dead in my chair behind the wheel ?

“I am thanking you for wrecking me at that moment Shane, I really do.

“My son wanted to jump in his car and take me to the hospital by himself, because he thought it took too long.  What if we have done that, and I went in cardiac arrest during the ride, the doctors said I would have died. .

What if I couldn’t make it upstairs or scream, and my wife and son just kept sleeping? “

Schmidt is recovering from his ordeal, but more amazingly is that Van Gisbergen, who had raced against Schmidt before, completely inadvertently wrecked him.

Posting on the iRacing forums, Van Gisbergen said:

“Man, this is crazy. First off as Joey covered we were both running pretty good, the caution came out I was playing with pit stop stuff and was looking at my phone trying to work out how much fuel I should take and looked up and saw Joey at pacing speed and I just smashed into the back of him.

Such a rookie.

I was feeling pretty bad about it because I race with Joey quite a bit, we always race each other pretty hard, sometimes too hard, but we have had some good races and I respect his ability. I was pretty bummed so I sent Joey a message apologizing further because I still got a decent result and he didn't.

Anyway, feeling a few emotion's reading your post here mate, but the main thing is I'm glad that it all worked out for the better situation and that your still here. Wishing you all the best with your recovery and hope your back iRacing and doing the things you enjoy sooner rather than later.

I guess when they say things happen for a reason, they really do”

So there you go: the carelessness of a V8 supercar driver may well have saved a man’s life.

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