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Post-Crash Health Woes Still Haunt Hydro Driver

His destination this weekend was supposed to be Hawaii.

Instead, Spokane’s Tom Hindley has just checked out of Sacred Heart Medical Center and maybe finds himself lucky to be alive.

Hindley had hoped to return to driving the Team Spokane unlimited hydroplane this week for the season’s final race in Honolulu. Now, rather than getting jostled and jarred at 200 miles-per-hour in the cockpit of the Appian Jeronimo, Hindley will be walking softly - trying not to upset the delicate balance of his health following his Columbia Cup crash of 10 weeks ago.

The Spokane hydro driver awoke 10 days ago feeling light-headed. He knew something was wrong with his battered body. He thought he might even be suffering a heart attack after bruising his heart in the blow-over accident that destroyed his boat.

Hindley was checked into the hospital and doctors went to work trying to pinpoint a perplexing problem. “They drained four units of blood from my right lung,” Hindley said.

To put that in proper perspective, Hindley said doctors told him that with a gunshot wound to the chest they routinely drain only a single unit of blood from a patient.

“The good news is that I made it here. Another two hours and I might have been dead,” he added.

Had he passed out at home, or experienced the problem on the long flight to Hawaii, “they might have lost me,” Hindley said.

“I’ve had CAT scans, MRIs and X-rays. They don’t have any answers.”

Team Spokane’s crew chief, John Walters, suffered similar symptoms following his 1982 crash, Hindley said.

Weeks of physical therapy had gotten Hindley back to the point where he planned to return to driving the U-19 this weekend at Pearl Harbor. “I was all set to drive the boat and now I have this garden hose in my side,” he lamented.

Mitch Evans will continue to fill in at the wheel of the Spokane boat.

Spokane drivers swift at Yakima

Yakima Speedway’s track records fell to three Spokane drivers in last weekend’s Fall Classic.

Tim Sawyer set a record in Street Stocks and then led wire-to-wire for the race win. Spokane’s Dave Garber was second.

Spokane’s Jeff Bird owns the Late Model track record and Rick Schultz set the mark in the Tour Division.

Pit stops

Spokane Raceway Park will finish its season Sunday with a demo derby on the oval track and jackpot and trophy racing on the drag strip. Gates open at 10 a.m. on the strip and at noon on the oval… . The Spokane Kart Racing Association will close the season with it’s annual Turkey Race on Sunday at the Spokane ORV Park. Racing begins at noon… . The 1996 area racing seasons finally come to a close with awards banquets scheduled by race tracks and traveling groups. Banquet information received so far includes: Stateline Speedway and the Northwest Mini-Supers, Saturday, Nov. 2, at Templins Resort in Post Falls (call 208-773-5019 for info); Northwest Modifieds, Saturday, Nov. 9, at Sons of Norway in Spokane (509-489-4359); Interstate Super Stock Series, Saturday, Nov. 9 at Hallmark Inn in Moses Lake (208-773-5019).