“By all accounts it was the most spectacular wreck of the Mid American Stock Car Series’ 2012 season. It happened shortly before the halfway point of the 75 lap event during the Short Track National Championships at Rockford Speedway in Illinois. While jostling for position down the backstretch, Rick Corso (#88) and Brian Holtz (#3) locked together and slammed into the pit entrance wall in the notorious turn three. Holtz bounced off of the large tire placed at the end of the pit entrance wall. The tire went flying and Holtz got airborne, spinning spectacularly with chunks of car spewing across the track.

Corso, meanwhile, clobbered the end of the pit wall, coming to an instant stop with his car wedged underneath the protective truck tire. He said the impact moved the motor back 4 inches. Miraculously both drivers walked away.

“I think I got clipped in the rear and spun into the tire,” said Holtz. “It was pretty wild. It all happened so fast I didn’t have time to think. I guess I was just in the wrong place at the right time.”

Amazingly, neither driver was feeling any major effects from the wreck. “I’m a little bit sore in the shoulders, but I have a full containment seat and good seat belts, which is really what saved me.”

On this day, Holtz was not wearing his head and neck restraint. “I have a HANS, but I feel claustrophobic when I wear it. I was wearing a horse collar. But from now on I’ll be wearing the head and neck restraint.”

Though Holtz’s high flying antics were magazine cover worthy, Corso’s sudden stop is the kind of instant impact that could easily result in a basilar skull fracture and death. But it didn’t. Corso was wearing a head and neck restraint. And he walked away. By all accounts it was that head and neck restraint that allowed him to climb out of his mangled racecar.

The Mid American Stock Car Series is a 12 race sportsman series running mostly in Wisconsin, but with stops in Illinois and Minnesota as well. For the last 20 years the series promoted Sportsman level cost-minded racing in a traveling format. Husband and wife team, Doug and Julie Strasburg have owned the series for the past 7 years.

Under section XXVII (seats, belts, helmet & driver suit) of the ’12 MASCS rulebook, reads a line “Approved, compatible head and neck restraint system recommended, required at tracks larger than 5/8 mile.”

You could probably guess why the rule reads the way it does. Strasburg explained that the speeds achieved by his competitors’ cars at big half mile tracks required the added safety of an H-n-R but they left it as a recommendation on the shorter tracks to allow the racer to make their own decisions given the cost of these restraints. For a short track sanction to mandate a head and neck restraint is progressive thinking, even if only for the bigger tracks. But Strasburg said that’s changing after witnessing the Rockford incident.