Reporter tells inspiring story of man who overcame paralysis to drag race again
If there’s one thing we at MotorSportsTalk love to read and write about, it’s drivers who overcome adversity, particularly those conquering physical challenges.
On Friday, Rachel Roberts of the Idaho Statesman had a great story about one such driver that we wanted to pass along.
Roberts tells the tale of Idaho drag racer Aaron Marcum, who was left a C6 quadriplegic after a fall off his cabin deck on August 21, 2016. Even though he fell just three feet off the deck, Marcum landed on his chin, which led to the paralysis and Marcum trading his car for a wheelchair.
According to Roberts’ story, fortunately Marcum did not sever his spinal cord and after months of grueling physical therapy that helped him regain some feeling and movement in his arms and legs, Marcum was able to regain some independence by being able to drive a van on the street specially outfitted with hand controls for acceleration and brakes.
But there was one thing Marcum missed greatly: going down the quarter-mile. So, after some adjustments to the van, he raced it down the quarter-mile at Idaho’s Firebird Raceway last October to see how he’d fare.
The results were encouraging, but more importantly, it was very clear the fire still burned greatly inside Marcum, 39, prompting the Meridian, Idaho resident to go all-in on his drag racing comeback, and for Roberts to tell the inspiring story.
“At one point I thought when I got injured that I would never race again,” Marcum told Roberts. “Then I just always kept very upbeat about my injury. Every little thing was motivating. My toes started to move, my foot started to move. Now my legs move.”
Marcum shifted from the van to a Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck near the end of last year’s racing season, then spent the winter tweaking it to be more competitive and win-worthy.
And win Marcum did in a big way this past Thursday at Firebird Raceway in Eagle, Idaho (near Boise). Roberts reported how he captured his first four elimination rounds and reached the quarterfinals in the Bracketeer class on the opening day of Firebird’s 47th annual Pepsi Nightfire Nationals.
“I’ve raced every points race that they’ve had out here since (the start of this season),” Marcum told Roberts about racing at Firebird Raceway. “So that’s every other weekend or every two weekends, which is perfect for me.”
Roberts’ story also includes a video of one of Marcum’s winning passes.
Prior to his accident, Marcum had success in several NHRA local and national events, including winning several Super Gas and Super Comp races on the national level.
He’s currently ninth of 22 drivers in Firebird Raceway’s Super Pro points standings.
As Roberts said in her story, “Not bad for someone who thought he’d never race again.”
We couldn’t have said it better – or agree more.
Click here to read Roberts’ full, inspiring story of Marcum and his return to drag racing.