Intro | 86-87 | 88-93 | 94-97 | 98-99 | 00-01 | 2002| 2003

2003

2003 ended up being the most challenging season in racing for me and one could argue it went from bad to worse. For sure it's one that I never will forget!
On paper it was a great set up. I was back with Team Rahal again and with basically the same people that we nearly won the CART Championship with in 2002. Only now we had a whole new challenge in front of us with IndyCars. I started my racing career in North America in this series and had a lot of success but with new cars and rules it turned out to be quite the challenge for us. For sure we had weekends where we were very competitive. Japan was such an example. We were very competitive in the race despite that a puncture set us back in the middle stage. We still fought back to challenge for the win. We were just behind the leader, and eventual winner Scott Sharp, when the track went yellow and ran like that until the finish. Therefore we never got a chance to challenge for the win and had to settle for second.

At Indy we also ran good. Qualifying 6th and sitting in 3rd position in the race until the first pit stop, when the gearbox broke. We continued to run but in the end we had to change the gear ratios and from there of course our chances were gone. 2002 we had to change gear ratios during the race too (as the revlimiter would not allow us to run to full revs and therefore the ratios were too short). Now we did virtually the same thing a year later. Talk about "Deja Vue".

Texas and Richmond were other races, despite some problems during the races, we managed to run well and finish in the top 5. Up until midway through the season we were in 5th position in the Championship.

But from there to the end of the season it was like nothing wanted to go in the direction we wanted. I thought we set a record in 2002 in the respect of losing wheels in pit stops, and believe me, I had heard the odd joke about it too. But in 2003 we set a new high. We lost wheels in 3 races and one time it caused us to crash in Michigan. Add on to that other incidents and mechanical failures and our Championship position and hopes slowly but surely slipped away and we finally settled as 9th overall.
To top it off I had one of the worst crashes in racing history in the last race. We were running in the front pack with about 10 laps to go when another car and me got together. It would have been just another crash, had it not been for the fact that my car caught air at 220 mph, got air borne and smashed straight into a massive steel pole in the catch fence. The impact was enormous, but leaving the cockpit intact. It recorded a record 214 g impact and left me seriously injured.
I had broken my sternum, 2 ribs, L3 vertebrae in my back, right femur and both ankles. I was airlifted to Dallas Parkland Hospital and had a team of very skilled surgeons working on me. They did a fantastic job and then I was air lifted to Indianapolis where Dr. Trammel and Dr. Scheid performed additional back and ankle surgery, also very successful. I spent most of the reminder of the year in hospital. I had massive support from fans and friends from all over the world. My wife Anita and the team was at my side for most of the time, I even got a "get well" e-mail from the American astronaut aboard The International Space Station!

The gallbladder was the last thing to go in 2003 after it had given me a lot of problems after the long hospitalization. I had it removed the day before New Years Eve, in a painful surgery. Despite this the year was going to end on a high.
On New Years Eve my wife gave birth, in the same hospital, to our first child, a daughter named Karma. Together with her, Anita, Nancy and Kelly Ann from Alabama and my mom and dad we celebrated New Years Eve together in my hospital room.

Other "off track" highlights were the new Rock n' Roll band "Kenny Brack and the Subwoofers" which was put together courtesy of Pioneer, one of the Team sponsors. The band consisted of a number of really good musicians and we performed all kind of different music from Chuck Berry, Sweet, ZZ top, Janis Joplin to AC/DC. We performed a number of shows around the country with a record crowd at Indy in May of nearly 10.000 people. We also recorded a record in Nashville together with one of Rock N' Roll's greatest guitarists, Ed King from Lynyrd Skynyrd, who also wrote the famous song "Sweet Home Alabama". All profits from record sales went to CARA charities.



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Intro | 86-87 | 88-93 | 94-97 | 98-99 | 00-01 | 2002| 2003

All photographs copyright © 1999 - 2002 Kenny Brack, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 


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