Mike Jones’ race in the NASCAR Late Model 100 ended with a big fiery crash, so his dad and Crew Chief Dean jumped to the rescue in an act of pure love, pulling Mike out of the burning race car and even going back in to turn on the car’s fire suppression system. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the all-time one true NASCAR dad.
Jones’ No. 39 was racing side by side with the No. 83 car when they collided coming out of a turn at South Boston Speedway in Virginia. Both cars spun out as a result and Jones hit the track’s inner wall hard. Sparks from Jones’ car ignited the fuel spilling out underneath it, causing a big blaze.
It was then that Mike’s dad Dean sprung into action, running towards the car fire to help Mike get out as soon as possible. Dean told RacingNews.co that Mike was hung up inside the car, which explains why he didn’t immediately get out:
Mike was momentarily hung up from getting out of the car but he knows I would have never left his side until he was clear and out of the car. Thank you God he got out in just as the car was a complete ball of fire.
The car is a total loss but my son is whole and safe.
Once Mike was safely out of the car, Dean even hopped back in to pop on the car’s onboard fire suppression system, reports RacingNews.co.
“No one except sweet baby Jesus would have kept me from freeing my son from a burning race car,” Dean told RacingNews.co.
Another from person behind the inner wall hopped over with a fire extinguisher to put out the flames before they found a way to jump the wall. A series official ultimately pulled him and Dean back from the blazing car once the first responders showed up.
Announcers mentioned that both drivers got out of their cars just fine, and firefighters were able to put out Jones’ car.
This isn’t the first time Dean has hopped straight into the action to help his kid, either, as Mike recalled on Facebook, as quoted by RacingNews.co:
I remember catching in an all star tournament when I was 12 and I got knocked out from a play at the plate. My dad Dean Jones hopped the centerfield fence and ran to home plate to make sure I was OK.
16 years later nothing has changed.
Happy Father’s Day dad. Thanks for everything.
We will be back.
Yet it’s worth noting that we wouldn’t recommend that you do this with a car fire. To say that this is love over common sense is an understatement, as Jones was extremely lucky that none of the flames flared up too close in his general direction and set him on fire. One flare-up even sort of comes close right as Jones is hopping out of the race car.
While I understand the desire to get a family member out of harm’s way, think of the first responders here. They showed up right after Dean, and they certainly don’t need to deal with a person on fire in addition to containing and extinguishing a race car blaze—especially when that person isn’t wearing any fireproof clothing and is thus at a much higher risk for injury.
So, it’s not too surprising that NASCAR officials asked Dean for his NASCAR license after he dashed right into harm’s way to pull his son out of the car, Dean told RacingNews.co:
Before all the races were complete, an official asked for my NASCAR license for being on the track with shorts on. I even asked are you serious right now? That’s OK, it’s only a piece of paper. My boys are everything to me.
We’ve reached out to NASCAR for confirmation as to Dean’s specific penalty and will update this article when we hear back.
Still, this race was on the day before Father’s Day, and we’re talking about a guy going out to save his kid. Maybe cut Dean a break this time and let him off easier with an extremely stern warning not to ever do this again unless for some reason the first responders are completely missing in action.
CORRECTION [4:49 p.m.]: We originally said South Boston Speedway was in West Virginia, but it is in Virginia. This has been corrected above.