BRANDON, S.D. (KELO) — A fan favorite at Huset’s Speedway is back on the track just two months after suffering severe burns on his legs during a race.
Mark Dobmeier has turned tens of thousands of laps during his storied career, but on March 10th in Arizona he felt “coolness” on his right leg.
“I wasn’t sure if it was fuel or not and then it kind of went away so I was like must be alright, and then all of a sudden it started coming in worse and I could feel it and I was like ok that’s fuel, it’s time to get out of the race,” sprint car driver Mark Dobmeier said.
A crash and yellow flag slowed the process, and when Dobmeier finally let off the accelerator…
“It’ll backfire and flame out the pipes a little bit and that’s what lit up the fuel and at that point I realized how much fuel was in the car and sprayed all over because it was an inferno,” Dobmeier said.
Dobmeier immediately exited the sprint car and hit the ground.
“Felt like I was rolling forever and then at one point halfway through my roll I heard ‘red, red, red’ on the radio and I’m like, well great they just realized now that I’m on fire (chuckle),” Dobmeier said.
The damage was done. Dobmeier suffered second-and third-degree burns on both legs. At first glance, Mark says the damaged areas resembled a sunburn, but 48 hours later that wasn’t the case.
“Pretty amazing what the doctors can do, but they basically took the skin off my thigh and stretched it along both my legs and got me some skin grafts and after that it was a waiting game to make sure everything took and fortunately everything did go well,” Dobmeier said.
Dobmeier spent ten days in an Arizona hospital. He eventually had more skin grafts done in Minnesota, but feels it’s been a quick recovery.
“I’m a very determined and busy-bodied guy, so I’m not one to sit around much,” Dobmeier said.
This isn’t Dobmeier’s first brush with catastrophe.
“I burst fractured my L4 and then fractured my L3,” Dobmeier said.
In 2020, he broke his back during a crash.
“I was right on the edge of paralysis. I was so close that the doctors didn’t quite even understand it,” Dobmeier said.
“His suspension gave out when his car landed on all four wheels at one time and I was standing pretty close to him and I could hear him screaming the second he landed,” Med-Star Ambulance President & CEO Jay Masur said. “With the good grace of God and some luck on our side, we got him out of the car and got him to the hospital and he can walk today.”
Dobmeier knows luck has been on his side.
“Cats have nine lives, my number’s been 13 forever, I figure I’ve got 13, what the heck,” Dobmeier said.
And it’s his love for racing that keeps bringing him back to the track.
“Keep your head up and keep moving and still got the burning desire to win some races, so here we are,” Dobmeier said.
Dobmeier won his first race back Friday at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and finished tenth Sunday night in the “A” feature at Huset’s Speedway.