During a NASCAR race in Virginia over the weekend, driver Mike Jones crashed, and his vehicle burst into flames. His crew chief, who is also his father, sprung into action to save his son, Racing News reported.
The father, Dean Jones, ran from pit lane and hopped over the wall, going onto the track during the race to pull his son from the burning wreckage — but he was punished for following his fatherly instincts.
Mike Jones was a participant in the NASCAR Late Model 100 race at South Boston Speedway on June 16.
On the day before Father's Day, Dean Jones witnessed something no parent ever wants to see: his son trapped in a potentially life-threatening situation.
As Mike Jones was rounding a corner on the track, he was driving side-by-side with Matt Bowling in a battle for the lead. The right-front tire of Bowling's vehicle made contact with Mike Jones' left rear tire, sending Mike spinning into the wall.
As Mike Jones' heavily damaged vehicle rolled back up the track, sparks made contact with leaking fuel, and the car exploded into a fireball.
Dean Jones sprinted onto the track and ran right to the driver's side of the burning vehicle, reaching in to free his son who was struggling to get out of the vehicle.
Dean Jones was able to get Mike out of the vehicle. Once his son was safe, Dean Jones wasn't finished — instead, he reached back into the vehicle to hit the fire suppression switch to help put out the flames as first responders arrived on the scene.
"First and foremost, I want to thank the good Lord above for having his hand on Mike tonight and keeping him from harm," Dean Jones said to Racing News. "No one except sweet baby Jesus would have kept me from freeing my son from a burning race car."
Mike Jones wasn't surprised that his father came on the track to save him.
"I remember catching in an all-star tournament when I was 12 and I got knocked out from a play at the plate," Mike Jones wrote on Facebook the next day. "My dad Dean Jones hopped the centerfield fence and ran to home plate to make sure I was ok. 16 years later, nothing has changed. Happy Father's Day, dad. Thanks for everything."
Breaking the rules?
In the midst of the chaos, Dean Jones apparently broke a NASCAR rule. An official approached him after the incident and demanded he give up his NASCAR license. His crime? Being on the racetrack with shorts on.
"I even asked, 'Are you serious right now?'" Dean Jones said. "That's OK, it's only a piece of paper. My boys are everything to me."