Kenny Brack’s resilience is the stuff of legend. It’s one thing to experience a crash of this magnitude, another to live through it and continue racing, and yet another to crack jokes while discussing it. It could be said that the Swedes are calm, cold and overly rational, but despite an experience that should’ve cost him his life, Brack looks back on it with a smile.
Back in 2003, Brack was a CART star, racking up points and still enjoying the treatment one receives as an Indy 500 winner. However, all that glitz ended when a collision with Thomas Scheckter at the Firehawk 600 put him in grave danger of losing his life. Though the turbocharged engines meant dangerous speeds of 220+ miles an hour around the Texan oval, the teams persisted in running.
Brack was leading towards the end of the race and, after the two touch, Brack spun off into the catch fence, hit a support beam, and his car splintered into a thousand pieces. The footage shows his car gyrating ominously, like a morbid spinning top. Most would assume that Brack’s life ended that day.
Thankfully, this wasn’t to be. After consulting the data in the car, Brack sustained somewhere around 214 gs of deceleration. Brack broke his sternum, his back, his femur, a few ribs, and crushed his ankles. In fact, Brack’s legs were left in such a mess that his doctor collected bone fragments in bags marked “right ankle” and “left ankle.” The resilient Swede eventually returned to racing and after retiring in 2005, became McLaren’s test development driver. Perhaps there’s a good reason Brack chuckles when recounting the incident — life’s been pretty good to him.