Ashton Torgerson describes what happened before and after terrifying Chili Bowl crash
TULSA, Oklahoma – Three days after being involved in a terrifying crash at the Chili Bowl, Ashton Torgerson and his father, Danny, met with reporters Saturday night at the SageNet Center media room.
Torgerson was hospitalized Wednesday night with bleeding in the brain. He was cleared Friday night to be released after undergoing multiple CT scans and tests. Though “a little sore,” the Medford, Oregon, native will fly home Sunday. In two weeks, he is scheduled to see a neurosurgeon at the Mayo Clinic.
Battling Kevin Thomas Jr. for seventh after starting second in his first midget race, Torgerson crashed on the backstretch and was thrown from the car. Danny Torgerson said nothing appeared to be wrong with his son’s safety gear before the crash.
“We know that when he went out the belts were tight,” Danny said. “We remember cinching them down at the track. Racing is dangerous and sometimes, unfortunately, things do happen. Anyone who says they know what happened, it’s 100% speculation and guess work.
“There will be time to take a better look at that and try to figure out what happened. I would never want what happened to him to happen to him or anybody, so we will definitely be working on trying to recreate what happened in the car and see if anything caught the belt to try and get some answers because we do need those answers.”
Ashton Torgerson has little memory of the crash. Among the first things he asked his family was where he was running at the time of the incident. He then asked “will they have my car ready for Saturday?” according to his father.
“I’m sorry for the scare there,” Ashton said. “All I can remember is the drop of the green flag. After that, I could not tell you what happened. Obviously, I was in a very bad wreck there. The next thing I remember was the ambulance - a tiny bit of the ambulance there. I got to the hospital, and they were checking me out asking me what hurts, and I told them my head and my face.”
After the race resumed, Rico Abreu tied a record with his eighth preliminary win and pledged his winnings to the Torgerson family. Abreu visited Torgerson at the hospital after his postrace interviews.
“Rico, he’s such a good guy,” Ashton said. “I was laying there and he walked in and set the trophy on the table and said the trophy was for me, and kept asking, ‘How is he? How’s he doing?’
“That means a lot to me. Rico didn’t have to do any of that.”
Thomas also checked in on Ashton after finishing fifth.
“You don’t realize how much the prayers mean until something like this happens,” Danny said. “I could say thank you for every hour for the rest of my life, and I don’t think it wouldn’t be enough. I told myself I wouldn’t get emotional. ... Being able to sit next to my son today is beyond amazing. It’s not what I expected Wednesday night.”
Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, whose Rowdy Energy Drink was sponsoring Torgerson this week, contacted the family the night of the crash and has remained in touch.
“Kyle Busch was one of the first ones to reach out,” Ashton said. “He messaged me right now. He keeps checking on me. He and Brexton keep asking how I’m doing.
“Brexton’s going to send me a card.”