Jacked Up: RJ Surdell Celebrates Limited Late Model Win Days After Being Crushed By Car 

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RJ Surdell celebrates victory in the Limited Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Friday night at Stafford Speedway, Limited Late Model division veteran RJ was just happy to be on two feet and in the pits getting ready for competition. 

Ultimately, winning Friday was what Surdell called the miracle to end a harrowing week. 

On Monday Surdell was crushed by his race car while working on it at his shop in Willington. 

On Friday Surdell went from pinned under his car to celebrating beside it after winning the 20-lap Limited Sportsman feature at Stafford Speedway. 

Surdell said it was a normal night in the shop on Monday as he checked over his car following a ninth place finish in the Limited Late Model feature on May 10 at Stafford. 

“I put my car on the scale pads but I never wheel checked to see if it was in gear,” Surdell said. “So when I climbed underneath to do all the inspections and the wipe down. I got to the rear and I saw it move, I said ‘This car is moving’ and the next thing you know it kept falling off the scale pads onto my chest. I was under the right rear.” 

Surdell was pinned under the frame of the car. Surdell shares his shop with fellow Limited Late Model driver Trinity Provost, who was in the shop working on her car with Tara Martel. 

“Thankfully I had someone in my shop because I live alone. … I wasn’t impaled by anything. They were right there. They probably got it up within like five minutes. I was just thankful that they were there. My [late] mother upstairs was my guardian angel. She really helped me out a lot to make sure I was in the right place at the wrong time and that there was someone there. If not, I have nobody at my house, I live in the woods and I would have been dead. 

Surdell suffered no major injuries. 

“I went and got checked out to make sure everything was OK,” Surdell said. “I was really really sore.” 

Friday was the second career victory in the division for Surdell, who got his first win on July 7, 2017. 

“It was amazing,” Surdell said. “The only thing I have to thank is that I lived to race another day. That was a huge thing. And then to come out here and win it tonight, it’s like a miracle to me. It relieves the pain all the way around.” 

Matt Clement of Wethersfield was second and Adrien Paradis III of Plainville was third. 


  1. Suitcase Jake says

    RJ … PLEASE PLEASE… never ever get under a car unless jack stands are in place in case of rolling off the pads…Always use chock blocks on scales front and rear of tires , you can zero out scales with clock blocks in place … Never work alone. always have cell phone handy.. I lost a friend at Body Shop on a Sunday, he was alone and jack failed and he was killed with no one around on Sunday… Monday morning was a Horror Show … Hopefully everyone has a dry erase board with checklists… Put it on the board. Jack stands are a must… Put in gear when on scales.. use chock blocks front and rear of tires. put chock blocks on scales and zero out scales to keep weights on the dime… PLEASE LEARN FROM THIS all you racers out there .. this happens way more than you think… also have a ZERO SMOKING POLICY IN GARAGE……MANY HAVE LOST SHOPS TO fuel catching on fire…. get ahead of it.. have a meeting with everyone who comes into your Shop … Jack Stands Mandatory !!! chock blocks also… In the end you are responsible for your people and shop… Be Smart and please take action…

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