Exclusive Larry Pearson Interview Wednesday on NASCAR Now
Two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Larry Pearson, who is recovering from serious injuries suffered in a crash during a race for retired NASCAR stars, appears in his first television interview since the crash on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now on Wednesday, May 12, at 5 p.m. ET.
An emotional Pearson speaks with ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch about what happened in the crash, the long and difficult recovery he faces and how the crash has changed his outlook on life. The interview was conducted in Pearson’s Spartanburg, S.C., home.
Pearson was injured near the end of the March 20 race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway when a blown tire sent his car into a spin on the high-banked track. Pearson’s car slid down the banking into the path of the car driven by Charlie Glotzbach, resulting in a violent crash. Among Pearson’s injuries were pelvis, leg and ankle fractures and a broken wrist. He has undergone multiple surgeries.
The 56-year-old Pearson won the 1986 and 1987 NASCAR Nationwide Series championships and is the son of three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion David Pearson.
Some excerpts from the interview:
Dr. Jerry Punch – As you slide sideways in two and look out your driver’s window at Charlie Glotzbach, what did you see?
Larry Pearson – “I saw his eyes and they looked very big. I’m sure it was a shock for him to see me as much as it was a shock for me to see him and I’m sure my eyes were big too … I can laugh about it now but it was so funny … I looked and I’m wondering ‘surely he’s not going to hit me.’
“When I was sliding down the track, I didn’t have any brakes. My brakes were gone. I guess when the tire blew it got the brake line so I was pumping the brakes trying to stop and it wouldn’t stop.
“I am not mad at anybody. It happens. I knew that going into it. Anything can happen but (pause) right now (pause) I wouldn’t put out doing it again but I would have to fight my family for that.”
Punch – People close to you have told me that this accident has changed Larry Pearson – how so?
Larry Pearson – “Looking at the accident, I mean pictures of it, there is no way I should have survived that wreck so there is a purpose for me to be here. I just have to find out what it is but I can tell you that I will be a whole lot nicer, not that I’m mean. I will be more family orientated. If I see someone broke down on the side of the road, I will stop.
“When you are laying up in the hospital like that wondering why you were spared you go through a lot of emotion. I probably have cried more in the last three or four weeks than I have cried in my entire life but that’s a good thing. I don’t know exactly what the good Lord has got for me but … I’m glad I will be able to change my ways.”
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY’S NASCAR NOW – On the 10-year anniversary of his son Adam’s death, former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty talks about Adam and the establishment of the Victory Junction Gang Camp in his honor.
About NASCAR on ESPN:
ESPN produces comprehensive, multi-platform coverage featuring telecasts of the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, including the 10-race “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Additionally, ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season. All television programming is produced in high definition. ESPN’s NASCAR coverage extends to ESPN.com, SportsCenter, ESPN the Magazine, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio and ESPN International, among other ESPN platforms. ESPN aired 262 NASCAR Cup Races over a 20-year period starting in 1981 and returned to NASCAR coverage in 2007. The network’s award-winning, live flag-to-flag coverage on ESPN has been honored with 19 Sports Emmy Awards, as well as many industry honors. It is widely credited for helping to popularize the sport nationwide.