The July 4 weekend in 2008 was a nightmare for Jimmy "The Kid" White Jr. The one in 2012 was epic.
White, from Southampton, won his first career Blunderbust feature in a 20-lap event and held off the all-time leading winner in the division, Tommy "The Wildchild" Walkowiak of Ridge on July 7 at Riverhead Raceway.
The win comes almost four years to the day he was seriously burned in a Demolition Derby at Riverhead Raceway on July 5, 2008. White emerged from his car partially on fire, but the quick reaction of the Riverhead Raceway safety team minimized his burns.
White was flown by Medivac Helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital.
White, 23, said 70 percent of his body was burned. He had first, second and third degree burns on his back, legs and face, and he had staples put in his right leg. White spent 16 days in the hospital and returned to racing one month later and full-time six months later.
"I wanted to get back as soon as possible," White said. "It was a struggle. This was a big win. I couldn't ask for a better weekend."
White said there was no doubt he wanted to return to racing despite the incident in which he remembers every detail vividly. The accident took place on his dad James' birthday.
"My father was the one to keep me going," White said. "He was one of the few people that said I should return. He always brought me up to never quit. He gave me an option and I went for the gold."
White had his first child, Madison Marie White, in December.
"I never knew what my parents went through," he said. "It had to be a nightmare. Having a child is a big influence and changes your perspective on life."