EAST WENATCHEE — Local race car driver Chris Hastings is in satisfactory condition at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center after suffering third-degree burns on his right arm and hand in a fiery crash at the Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval Saturday night.
A collision with fellow driver Marc Bush flipped Hastings’ car over during the Thunder Cars series race, and it ignited after the lid to his fuel cell was dislodged.
“It flipped his car from about the flag man stand and hit the wall, and he got hit so hard the lid on the fuel cell popped off,” said his wife, Nicole Hastings, who witnessed the crash from the stands. “He was fully engulfed in flames. He was in there a good 15 seconds before he got out.”
Chris Hastings, 35, escaped the fire unassisted, and was helped by fellow drivers Kevin Bull and Jason Wilson on the track, Nicole Hastings said.
The East Wenatchee resident was taken to Central Washington Hospital by Lifeline, then transported by the same ambulance crew to Harborview’s burn unit.
Hastings underwent emergency surgery Sunday night to relieve pressure in his hand, which had lost circulation.
“They had to cut his hand open in three spots to drain all the pressure,” said Nicole Hastings. “His fingers were turning purple and they couldn’t find a pulse in his hand because there was no circulation.”
He will undergo a skin graft procedure Friday or next Monday from his shoulder down to his fingertips using skin from either his thigh or back, Nicole Hastings said.
His pancreas was also bruised in the crash, and as a result wasn’t allowed to eat until Monday.
An account has been set up to help cover Hastings’ medical expenses at the Numerica Credit Union branches in Wenatchee and East Wenatchee.
Donations by fans at Saturday’s races and Les Schwab Tire Centers have already reached $1,500, said Shannon Holman, general manager of the Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval.
Hastings has raced in the Thunder Cars series for three years, and sits in 16th place out of 20 racers in this season’s standings. In two previous races this year, he finished ninth and 13th.