(Zach Lightfoot back in action on October 29th at Southern National Motorsports Park)
Story by Reese Nobles / Race22.com
Saturday July 9, 2016 is a date Zach Lightfoot and his family won’t soon forget, as that date and the events of it put his racing future into question after a violent crash at Dominion Raceway during an INEX Legends car event. On October 29th Lightfoot made his return to racing at Southern National Motorsports Park.
Zach reflected on the accident that day. “I was making a pass for third at Dominion and I was on the inside in the blind spot of the guy beside me, he didn’t see me going into the corner, he turned down on me and my car went straight up the track into the wall hard.”
The crash sent Zach into a slight shock but his first thoughts were to get out of the car as any racer would but there was a problem. Zach’s car had a sizeable amount of sheet metal wrapped around it, which made it impossible for him to get out while he was in “excruciating pain.”
Many people would reconsider ever driving again and Zach was no different. “At the exact moment I didn’t know. I didn’t think I would get back in the car and it takes a while to let an injury like that heal. To be honest, it hasn’t been a long time but I think I’m rehabilitated.”
The crash left Lightfoot with a broken fibula, tibula and a ruptured patella. Zach came back only a little under four months later, much earlier than his family and many other race fans expected. Zach credits his quick recovery to God’s grace, rehab, the doctors and his family around him to help get him back to being ready to get in the car.
The overwhelming support from social media also helped Lightfoot recover with many in the local racing scene having showed their support of Zach. Not only did Zach have the support of these groups but also the INEX headquarters in Harrisburg, North Carolina and even the U.S. Air Force.
At only 12 years old, Lightfoot already has 13 Bandolero wins over just two seasons with wins at Langley Speedway and Southside Speedway in Virginia.
While racing is big for Lightfoot, he also wants to bring awareness to a cause close to him, that is autism awareness. Lightfoot was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, an autism related disorder that can cause social skills to not develop as well as a high sensitivity to lights and certain sounds. Zach does not let it hold him back though, using racing as a platform to raise awareness for something that 20 years ago, no one had ever heard of but is now one of the top ten most diagnosed disorders among children.
Lightfoot, the 2015 Langley Speedway Bandolero champion and 2015 INEX Bandolero Virginia State champion, is poised for a rebound next season rehabilitated from his wreck at Dominion and ready to take back what he feels is his spot atop of the mountain in the state of Virginia.