Billy Melvin…Back Racing…..but there is more…A peek at the full story from the Derby Programadmin
By Chuck Corder
Conscious, but in dire pain, Billy Melvin sat pinned inside a crumpled and twisted heap of metal for close to an hour. His left leg was glued to the oil tank, searing his skin like a steak in a cast iron skillet.
Above him, a team of first responders, track officials, and 22-year-old son Charlie Melvin tried to carefully extract Billy Melvin from his destroyed open-wheel Modifieds car.
It took not one, but two Jaws of Life to carefully cut the roll cage and remove the 52-year-old Alabama short-track driver during last year’s Modified Snowball Derby race at Five Flags Speedway.
Billy Melvin was out of the car, but in bad shape. The list of injuries he sustained would leave any doctor uneasy. A crushed foot, a compound fracture of his tibia in his right leg, a compound fracture of his left femur, multiple pelvic fractures, and that burn on his leg that eventually required skin grafts.
“I felt the bone sticking outta my leg, under the firesuit,” Billy Melvin said. “I never told my son because I knew he’d panic. I stayed as calm as I could be because panic wasn’t gonna change anything. Going into shock wasn’t an option. Everybody was doing everything they possibly could do to get me out.”
With less than 30 laps left in the Modified Derby, Melvin went for a spin in his No. 16. Jason Moorman, racing closely behind, had nowhere to go and delivered a punishing hit into Melvin’s driver side door.
Seven emergency vehicles immediately flooded the half-mile asphalt oval to attend to Melvin.
“One car zig and we zagged,” Melvin said. “Just a part of racing; nothing intentional at all.”
Ever the competitor, the former Modified Derby champion (2012) is back at Pensacola’s high banks for his 26th consecutive trip to short-track racing’s pinnacle week.
This is just the start of the story, it continues in the official Snowball Derby program on sale at the speedway for $5.00