Minn. family watches as NASCAR pit crew member is engulfed in flames

Minn. family watches as NASCAR pit crew member is engulfed in flames

An Isanti County family watched their son engulfed in a fireball when an accident happened Friday night with his pit crew at a NASCAR race in North Carolina.

Anthony O'Brien, 25, suffered second-degree burns to his face, his father, Curtis Mann, said from Stanchfield, Minn., but otherwise, he's doing fine and will be released from the hospital on Monday. He plans to get back to the race track as soon as possible. His family, on the other hand, never tells O'Brien to throw in the towel.

Two other pit crew members with Richard Childress racing also suffered minor injuries and are doing better. NASCAR is looking at the possibility of a gas can malfunction causing the fire and continues to investigate.

He started tinkering with cars growing up in Stanchfield and developed a passion for NASCAR, moving to North Carolina 7 years ago to pursue his dream. Despite world-class training, planning, and the best equipment, O'Brien's family knows an accident like this can happen again, but says even second-degree burns won't be enough to slow down their son.

"He would just like to stay in it as long as his body does it, he's living a dream," Mann said.

His family will try to join him in North Carolina later this week.

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