Immediate Release 12/19/2002 12:00 PM EST
This is an update to the fans and friends on the
condition of NHRA driver, engineer and legendary tuner John Lingenfelter who
was critically injured during a NHRA Summit Sport Compact drag racing event
at Pomona, California on October 27, 2002.
During that event John's car lost traction and hit a retaining wall at about
190 MPH. John was on a world record setting pace. In typical Lingenfelter
fashion, he had been going for the record. John was rushed to the Pomona
Valley hospital in critical condition.
John had internal injuries and broken bones. His most serious injury was a
fracture of several vertebrae and a head injury. At the hospital John
regained consciousness and responded to the voice of his wife Cindy. From
that point on, he never stopped fighting. The medical staff involved was
always amazed at John's resiliency and will to live.
California doctors stabilized John's condition and an operation to repair
his damaged vertebrae was completed. John could move his arms and legs. Ten
days later the doctors withdrew the sleep inducing drugs and John woke up.
John recognized wife Cindy and others. He was removed from life support,
improved and John asked Cindy to take him home. Soon, his doctors deemed him
strong enough to be moved back home to Indiana. John was transported to
Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, an experienced trauma facility servicing
both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Raceway Park.
By the end of November John was looking forward to going home to Decatur and
was scheduled to begin rehabilitation in several days. John was cracking
jokes with the nurses and telling his wife Cindy about a new motor he was
building in his head while he was confined to a bed. But Methodist doctors
discovered that the neck operation performed at Pomona needed to be
repeated. John's rehab would have to wait a few more days.
Everybody who has ever known or met John is not surprised that he would
survive and come through all the adversity when most would have given up.
His will to live and recover is incredible.
On Friday, November 29, 2002, just over a month after his accident at
Pomona, John was prepped in Indy for a second operation to repair his still
damaged vertebrae. John was administered a drug prior to anesthesia. John
had a reaction and went into cardiac arrest. The medical staff worked to
reestablish his heart function, which they did. However, John entered into
and remains in a "semi comatose state".
His physicians rate the prognosis to recover from his neck and spinal
injuries as "excellent". They say that the chances of recovery from his semi
comatose state are "extremely poor" in "the foreseeable future".
John's company, LPE (Lingenfelter Performance Engineering) located in
Decatur, Indiana will continue it's normal operation in John's absence. John
chose and trained some of the best, most highly trained, dedicated and
gifted individuals in the industry to run (as John calls it) "the shop". Tom
Cress and John's daughter Kelly are running "the shop". There will be no
change in staff, the superior product or the way LPE does business.
The 35 employees of LPE are used to "John", being out of town. John's
frequent absence for NHRA racing events and the far flung testing of his
modified street cars by the national and international automobile media
always required John's faith in his people to carry on when he was not
there. They never let him down.
"We will keep doing it John's way, that means the highest possible quality
product that is both bullet proof and wickedly fast. We are the best because
John trained us that there is no other way. In John's absence the LPE
employees and family intend to keep up that tradition". - Tom Cress.
Last week the LPE team produced and tested a (Street Legal) 2002
Lingenfelter Corvette 427 Twin Turbo that went 8.95 seconds and 153 MPH in
the quarter mile. The Lingenfelter tradition goes on. John would have it no
John's wife, Cindy Lingenfelter, while realizing the seriousness of his
condition, remains hopeful for an eventual recovery. In the meantime, she is
committed that it will be "business as usual" at LPE. Cindy asks that John's
friends direct their prayers to God for his recovery and their well wishes
to "the shop" were she will maintain an office.
Issued jointly by the LPE Team.
Friends and well-wishers are reminded that Lingenfelter cannot accept
visitors at this time. Cards and letters may be sent to the shop at 1557
Winchester Road, Decatur, IN 46733
Status update: John Lingenfelter
by Phil Burgess, NHRASportCompact.com
Nov. 20: John Lingenfelter's condition has improved so significantly
following his Oct. 27 crash in Pomona, Calif., that doctors at Pomona Valley
Medical Center have allowed him be flown back to his homestate of Indiana to
continue his rehabilitation. He is expected to arrive later today and check
into an Indianapolis-area hospital.
"His recovery is still progressing," said Tom Cress of Lingenfelter
Performance Engineering. "We're anxious to have John back closer to home and
allow the doctors here to continue the work begun in California."
Lingenfelter was removed Saturday from the ventilator that had been helping
him breathe since receiving a punctured lung in the accident and was able to
whisper some words to family and friends.
Lingenfelter will receive treatment from renowned surgeon Dr. Terry
Trammell, who has treated race drivers such as NHRA Top Fuel champions
Shirley Muldowney and Tony Schumacher and open-wheel racers such as Rick
Mears and, most recently and most dramatically, Alex Zanardi, who lost both
legs in a race in Germany last Fall.
"He's going to be in great hands," said Cress.