DARLINGTON, S.C. – With the heart of a champion and fierce perseverance, Dom Lagana returned to NHRA drag racing after a near-fatal accident and continues to hit recovery milestones.
As a result, Lagana is the winner of the second quarter NMPA Pocono Spirit Award by the National Motorsports Press Association. Lagana was selected by a wide vote margin.
Lagana is a crew member for Torrence Racing with drivers Billy Torrence and four-time reigning Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence. In Aug. 2020, Lagana nearly lost his life in a highway accident when his car left the road and struck a utility pole. While his passengers escaped with minor injuries, Lagana was briefly knocked unconscious and trapped in the car.
Lagana’s recovery has been lengthy. Having suffered severe burns, both of Lagana’s legs were amputated above the knee and he spent nearly two months in a coma. But once awake, Lagana started thinking about racing, where the series was competing that weekend, and how he missed his team.
Determined to return to the tour, Lagana focused on getting his independence at home and in the race shop. Through physical therapy, Lagana learned a new way to be mobile in a wheelchair before learning to use his prosthetics and returning to the racetrack.
One major milestone came when Lagana was able to drive a passenger vehicle again. Today, Lagana is walking and proudly able to stand at the starting line with his teammates when one of the Torrence drivers is competing.
“I’m so happy for Dom to be recognized with this award after all the obstacles and hardships he’s overcome,” Steve Torrence said. “He truly embodies what it means to overcome adversity. I’m proud to call him my brother.”
Also receiving votes for the second quarter award were North Wilkesboro Speedway, Monster Energy AMA Supercross and Tyler Reddick.
Lagana is now eligible for the overall NMPA Pocono Spirit Award, which is also voted on by the membership and presented at the annual convention. For his work with Vet Tix, Kurt Busch was selected as the first quarter award winner.
Established in 1992 and supported by Pocono Raceway, the Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motor sports. It is also meant to acknowledge competitors who have overcome illness, injury, or tragedy to return to racing.