February was a month of triumphs and hardships for the No. 60 Pee Dee Motorsports Modified team. After a solid start to Speedweeks, disaster struck while the team was unloading equipment on Tuesday, February 13 at New Smyrna Speedway (FL). Crew member Dennis Duffy sustained a serious open leg fracture which required immediate surgery and left him hospitalized.
The team persevered and raced that night and the rest of the week, with Matt Hirschman claiming his first win in the John Blewett III Memorial and ultimately the 2018 World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Tour-type Modified championship; all while thinking of Duffy the entire way.
Two weeks after the accident, good news was delivered to Dennis and his family: he was released from the hospital in Florida and told he could fly home this past Monday.
“He is making progress,” Hirschman told Speed51.com. “He was able to fly home to Upstate New York, Monday this week. He’s going to continue with the rehabilitation process.”
With Duffy now home, Pee Dee Motorsports and the Modified community continue to rally around him, asking for any donations to help the Duffy family during this trying time. Donations can be made through a GoFundMe account set up for his medical expenses.
“We know with the medical bills and the loss of income until he gets back on his feet that we should try to help him out any way we can,” Hirschman stated. “So far there has been a lot of generous people that have contributed.”
The best news of all is that Duffy’s spirit has remained high through the ordeal, even during the first few days in Florida. From his hospital bed he became a great source of moral for Hirschman and the team, urging them to continue the fight for race wins and the championship.
“The day it happened we discussed whether or not we would even race that night,” Hirschman explained. “It was tough for everyone to deal with what happened, but I’m glad that we continued on and got the championship for the week. There’s nothing more than a team accomplishment that you can achieve down there than that. He was certainly still there with us, sending us messages every night about our resolve and trying to keep my morale up to make sure we got that championship. That was certainly something to remember for all of us.”
The recovery process is expected to be somewhere 12 weeks for Duffy, but the outlook is still positive with Hirschman going on to say that Duffy hopes to return to the track sometime in the second half of this year.
Hirschman and Pee Dee Motorsports will return to action March 17 at Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) for the season opener for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
If you or anyone you know wants to donate to the Duffy family, follow the link to the Go Fund Me page: https://www.gofundme.com/dennis-duffys-medical-expenses
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Matt Hirschman