ANGELS OF THE INFIELD
Premier Health/Miami Valley Hospital Emergency Staff Check the Pulse of Eldora Speedway
Liz Denlinger, R.N., Emergency Department Nursing Director at Miami Valley Hospital, can relate.
Prior to becoming nursing director at Eldora’s infield care center, she served with CareFlight Air and Mobile Services. It was during those visits to Eldora Speedway – with CareFlight on stand-by if needed – that Denlinger and the crew watched the racing action on Eldora’s half-mile, high-banked oval from the wooden bleachers.
“We’d sit in the stands and get pelted with dirt,” Denlinger said, smiling at the memory.
These days, Denlinger and the emergency staff watch Eldora’s major races from the care center. The team from Premier Health/Miami Valley Hospital, Southwestern Ohio’s first Level I Trauma Center, returns to Eldora Speedway this week for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Eldora Dirt Derby (July 18-19).
This is the fifth year Premier Health and Eldora Speedway have worked together for the NCWTS Dirt Derby. It’s the first year Eldora has requested the trauma team staff the infield care center for additional races.
“We are here to support the infield, the pits and crews, the fans in the infield and the racers,” Denlinger said. “Working out of (the infield care center), it’s top notch.”
A team responds when an on-track incident occurs. The EMS and track crews make first contact and decide whether to send an injured driver directly to an area hospital or to the infield care center. If a driver is sent to the care center, the staff treats and/or stabilizes the driver before determining the next step.
“They don’t have to be sent to us, but we’re here for them if they need us,” Denlinger said. “We need to make sure we move them forward so they get the attention they need.”
NASCAR national events require an infield care center. The center is typically staffed with a doctor, two nurses and Denlinger. More staff can be added as needed. The infield care center, which houses four medical bays, is equipped to handle on-track accidents as well as off-track ailments like chest pains, severe abdominal pain, lacerations, dehydration, headaches and “it’s a dirt track so lots of stuff in the eyes,” Denlinger said.
In addition to the care center, Eldora also offers an FAA-spec helipad for Premier Health’s CareFlight helicopter. The helipad is also available to volunteer fire departments and rescue squads in Darke and Mercer counties for assistance.
“We can provide initial advanced life support to anyone who would need it in the infield,” Denlinger said of the versatility of the infield care center combined with CareFlight. “Our goal would be to identify if they need to be sent out of here, whether by ambulance or by air. I think the ability to have the EMS transportation they have (at Eldora) and in conjunction with CareFlight, we have the ability to take care of people and move them quickly to get them where they need to be.”
As for Denlinger, she now watches the on-track action on closed-circuit feeds with no fear of getting pelted by the dirt.
“I wasn’t always a race fan. Once you start doing this you have to either embrace it or get out of it. I would say now I am a race fan,” Denlinger said.
“I remember when they brought me down to the infield to show me around (the infield care center) and the hot laps started for the Dirt Late Model Dream. I could not believe how fast these cars were going around that track. I was pretty impressed.”
The same can be said for the infield care center. The facility was built with the future in mind.
“For the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event, we have to meet their medical standards, which are clearly detailed line by line,” said Terry Kibler, who oversees Eldora’s Track Services and Safety Team. “There has to be a certain amount of beds and rooms. We expanded beyond that and went above and beyond in anticipation of standards changing in the next 15 or 20 years. It meets the exact same standards that Daytona (International Speedway) or Indianapolis (Motor Speedway) are required to meet.”
The fifth annual Eldora Dirt Derby kicks off with the Tuesday Tailgate, featuring practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and a full program culminating with a 75-lap feature for the big-block modifieds of the Super DIRTcar Series.
Wednesday’s activities begin with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver autograph session at 3 p.m. Single-truck qualifying is slated for 5:15 p.m., the first of five qualifying heat races is slated for 7:30 p.m., and the 150-lap feature will go green at 9:30 p.m. The Super DIRTcar Series modifieds will also be in action with a non-points exhibition event.
Tickets are still available by visiting EldoraSpeedway.com or calling (937) 338-3815.
About Miami Valley Hospital:
Miami Valley Hospital is a full-service, acute care hospital located in Dayton, Ohio. The largest health care provider in the region with 970 licensed beds, Miami Valley operates the area’s only: Level I trauma center with air medical services, high-risk obstetrics, perinatal center and Level III-B NICU all in the same facility. The hospital holds Magnet Status for nursing excellence and has been recognized by National Research Corporation as a Consumer Choice Award winner in the Dayton market for twenty consecutive years. Miami Valley Hospital and its additional site at Miami Valley Hospital South in Centerville are part of Premier Health, which also encompasses Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Atrium Medical Center in Warren County and Upper Valley Medical Center in Miami County. For more information, visit www.mvh.org.
About Eldora Speedway:
Since carved from a cornfield in the natural amphitheater that existed between the Eldora Ballroom and the Wabash River by bandleader Earl Baltes in 1954, Eldora Speedway has grown to be a frontrunner in motorsports growth and stability. Baltes chose to sell the legendary high-banked clay oval to motorsports entrepreneur and NASCAR, IndyCar and USAC champion Tony Stewart in 2004. Celebrating its 64th season in 2017, Eldora hosts the biggest events in short-track racing including the 23rd annual Dirt Late Model Dream; the 34th annual Kings Royal Weekend; the Camping World Truck Series’ Eldora Dirt Derby – the only NASCAR National Series race on dirt; and the 47th annual World 100. The complete schedule for Eldora’s 64th consecutive season, including ticket and campsite information, is available at www.EldoraSpeedway.com and can be requested by phone at (937) 338-3815. Fans can get behind-the-scenes access of Eldora Speedway by following @EldoraSpeedway on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, hitting ‘Like’ at www.facebook.com/EldoraSpeedway and subscribing to www.youtube.com/EldoraSpeedway.