BRISTOL, Tenn. _ What was slated to be a fun race between some of NASCAR’s biggest legends quickly took a turn for the worse on Lap 30 when Larry Pearson cut a tire in Turn 2. The No. 21 spun into the outside wall, then slid down the track. Unable to slow down, Charlie Glotzbach plowed into the driver side door of Pearson’s car in one of the most vicious wrecks in recent memory.
After the cacophonous boom of the hit, an immediate hush fell on the Bristol Motor Speedway as people on pit road rushed to the mangled race cars that came to a rest on the backstretch.
Safety crews were quickly on the scene as everyone feared the worst. After a long and frightening delay with no word on either driver, Glotzbach climbed from the car holding his arm and receiving oxygen. Knocked unconscious as a result of the hard hit, the 71-year-old was taken to the infield care center for evaluation as the safety crews continued to work on Pearson.
Taking a hard hit in the driver side door, Pearson was also knocked unconscious. Crews worked gingerly to cut away the roof and roll bars before using a backboard to remove Pearson from the car. Larry’s brothers were on the scene of the incident and reported he was responsive and moving his arms. His father, David Pearson, sat in his No. 17 car under the red flag as crew worked removing his son.
Once out of the car, the 56-year-old was taken out of the track in an ambulance and airlifted to the Wellmont Bristol Medical Center in Bristol, Tennessee. David Pearson pulled his car into the garage and left to be with his son before the race went back to green for the final five laps.
After walking into the infield medical center under his own power, Gloztbach was also transported to the hospital for further evaluation.
While Saturday night’s legend’s race was meant to be fun for both the drivers and the fans, the incident on Lap 30 was a quick reminder that even when racing for fun it can still be extremely dangerous. The hard hit destroyed both cars, with the entire front end of Glotzbach’s car gone.
The latest report was Glotzbach was reported at good condition, while Pearson was listed as awake and alert, but doctors are continuing to evaluate him to determine the extent of his injuries.