ABC News’ Robyn Weil reports:
Dirt Modified racer Mike Stofflet said his first thoughts when his car was engulfed in flames at a race last Saturday were of his family.
“When it caught fire, it was, ‘I gotta get out. I have a family. I don’t want to die here today,’” Stofflet told ABC News.
Stofflet, 27, was racing in a 25-lap qualifying race at Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, Pa., when he lost control of his car on a turn.
Fuel immediately began to pour out of his overturned car and pool directly beneath him, but Stofflet was stuck inside, unable to escape.
Rescuers came onto the track to try and free Stofflet but as they lifted his car, a fireball exploded, completely engulfing his car in flames.
The fear-filled moments were caught on tape by a camera inside Stofflet’s car.
“I kind of got lost in the flame for a second,” said Stofflet, who posted the video on YouTube.
Rescuers were eventually able to put out the fire using fire extinguishers, and they pulled Stofflet out of the car through the passenger-side window.
“I felt someone grab me,” he said of the rescuer, Dale Santee. “He pulled me out and allowed me to walk away.”
Stofflet not only walked away from his near-death experience, he got back into the same car just 30 minutes later to compete in another race, in which he placed fifth.
“It was actually a win to us, even though we didn’t win the race,” said Stofflet, who added that he’ll be back on the track racing again this weekend.
“I’m just glad that we got back on the track,” he said. “I’m glad I got the fear out of myself.”