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TACH SPECIAL: Stan Fox: Out of Tragedy Comes Triumph

6 January 2001

By David Treffer
Contributing Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
"The leader may have left us but the mission carries on." Those words from Jack Kerwin have been echoed many times during the last few days. The leader that Jack Kerwin was referring to was Stan Fox. The mission will be the preservation and fulfillment of the St.Vincent New Hope "Friends of the Fox" foundation and support-group for head-injury victims.

On December 18th, 2000 Stan Fox was involved in a two-car head-on collision in New Zealand which took his life. Fox was in New Zealand to take part in a New Years celebration to raise the awareness of the foundation.

For those of you who follow Indy car racing no introduction of Stan Fox will be needed. However, anyone new to the sport may not remember the horrific first lap of the 1995 Indy 500. Fox's car was literally shredded as he rode on the catch-fencing of the first turn. Who can forget the eerie sight of Fox's feet dangling above the rear-wing of Eddie Cheever's car? The multiple impacts on his head and brain caused Fox to enter a coma. Five days later Fox thankfully emerged from the coma, however a long road of recovery was in front of him.

For Fox, the crash would become a turning point in his life. His driving career as a professional was over. However out of tragedy came a new focus. While it would take three long years of recovery and rehabilitation to arrive at the decision of never racing again, Fox was going to have a greater impact on people's lives than he ever dreamed.

The "Friends of the Fox" foundation was created by Stan Fox and Jack Kerwin, who is the executive director of the "Friends of the Fox." Kerwin, who is also a survivor of a severe head injury, describes the group as an "outreach and support group to help return head-injury victims to society."

The non-profit program funded through private and corporate donations utilizes the racing world as its stage. This past year the "Friends of the Fox" brought 300 head-injury survivors to Indianapolis during the month of May. Fox utilizing his contacts with other drivers and team owners had truly turned tragedy into triumph. For Fox, his "official" retirement came during the pace-car ceremonies prior to the running of the 2000 Indy 500.

Jack Kerwin commenting on the sad news of the accident in New Zealand "The group will and must go forward. Not only in memory of Stan but also for the hundreds of other people who have to deal every day with head-injury. Stan would not want it any other way."

To make a donation or inquire about the "Friends of the Fox" please write to: "Friends of the Fox 6145 Crawfordsville Road Speedway, IN 46224

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot racing photos and art, visit The Racing Photo Museum and the Visions of Speed Art Gallery.