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Three months after horrific accident, Boris Jurkovic returns to Berlin Raceway

Super late model driver returns to help nephew in Battle at Berlin
Boris Jurkovic returns to Berlin Raceway
Posted at 10:36 AM, Aug 22, 2021

MARNE, Mich. — On May 22, fans at Berlin Raceway feared the worst after a horrific collision between the No. 52 car of David Fretz and No. 53 Boris Jurkovic.

Jurkovic was spun in turn one during a super late model feature before Fretz came around the track and crashed into the front end of the sitting 53 car.

The jaws of life were used to extract both drivers from their cars and both would be sped to the hospital.

Jurkovic still remembers the moment the collision occurred.

"I remember sitting there, looking up and seeing the car come towards me," he recalled on Fretz's path to him, "I watched him all the way to the windshield hoping he was going to change his line and that never happened."

The collision to the front end of Jurkovic's car would lead to severe knee injuries for the 51-year-old, which would require four days in the hospital.

"I had two broken patellas, I shattered the bottom halves of them," he told FOX 17, "it knocked all my tendons off, they had to pull all the particles out that couldn't be reattached, it was shattered to the extent that they couldn't put it back together."

A scary crash at Berlin Raceway

After racing for nearly 20 years, Jurkovic has been involved in accidents, but never quite like this.

"I've been on fire, I've had back burns, second and third degree burns on my back, I've been knocked out one time in Florida, but never broken any bones," Jurkovic added.

Incredibly, three months after the incident, Jurkovic returned to Berlin Raceway for the first time since the crash to take in the Battle at Berlin and help his nephew, Eric White on Saturday.

"It was really gratifying to come back, very humbling, a lot of people asked how I was doing and it made me feel good that people thought of me and were praying for me," he smiled, "I'm just so happy to be back at the race track."

Boris Jurkovic helps Eric White
Boris Jurkovic helps push his nephew, Eric White's car at Berlin Raceway on Saturday afternoon.

The Illinois native turned Florida resident spoke to the crowd before the start of the evening's races, thanking them, family and several others for their prayers and support during the past few months.

As scary as the incident was for him and all involved, he says he's hoping to be back to racing as early as next month at a short track in Florida.

"We're hoping for the end of September, if it keeps going the way it's going, I think we can be ready, at least for hot laps but I think we'll be ready to race."

Boris Jurkovic
Boris Jurkovic takes a victory lap after winning the Icebreaker at Berlin Raceway.

Jurkovic says the crash hasn't changed much about his mindset or the way he looks at racing.

"It really hasn't changed anything, I think if it would have changed my perception of racing, it would have happened fifteen years ago when I had my first wreck," he explained.
While he admits his racing days will be coming to an end over the next few years, he's not ready to hang up the racing shoes and fire suit just yet.

Boris Jurkovic
A smiling Boris Jurkovic after his opening night win at Berlin Raceway.

"I'm having fun, I think everyone should be able to do what they want to do and enjoy their life and I'm doing that, I'm almost to the point of my life where I'm ready for a next chapter but I'm not going out like this."

Accoring to an announcement from Berlin Raceway on Saturday night, the other driver involved in the crash, David Fretz has been released from Mary Free Bed rehabilitation hospital and is in good spirits.