February 18, 2019
Written by Jon Winker
Jon is the owner/driver for Recon Racing and has competitively raced vehicles since he was in middle school. After high school, he joined the army as an infantryman and deployed to Iraq, where he was struck and run over by a MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle. He has since had his left leg amputated and been fitted with a prosthetic, yet continues to actively and successfully pursue and live out his dream of racing and modifying cars! Here’s Jon’s story in his own words:
I own a 2002 ROUSH Mustang that has a special place in my life. Tasca Parts has always been my go-to source for OEM parts for my Fords. I purchased this Mustang just after joining the Army and graduating high school in 2006. In 2009 I was deployed to Iraq as an Infantryman.
Shortly before I was scheduled to come home, I was injured and nearly lost my leg. I spent nearly two years in recovery and had many surgeries. While home recovering from surgeries, I started turning my ROUSH Mustang into a track car. I was medically retired from the Army because I could no longer perform my duty as an Infantryman. I could only walk with a cane and was in extreme pain all the time. I could no longer do many of the activities I used to enjoy before my injury. But one activity I could still do was drive!
In 2012 I put my ROUSH Mustang into wall at Road America. I bent the frame in front of the strut towers. It was early in the season and I wanted to get back on the track as soon as I could.
The car went on the frame machine and was tweaked back into place the best we could. I finished that season the best I could. The injuries I sustained in Iraq were continuing to get worse and my quality of life was nowhere near where I wanted it to be. I had to face a decision: live with my pain and poor quality of life, or have my left leg amputated to hopefully get some more function back and reduce my pain. It was a hard choice. My first thought was, ‘Can I still drive my manual transmission Mustang?’
I chose to amputate my leg - and my pain has been reduced to a manageable level. What’s more, I still drive! I have modified my car slightly to be able to drive with my prosthetic, and I now compete in Autocross, Time Trial, and pro-touring events. I am working towards earning my SCCA Competition License which I expect to earn next month after completing the Skip Barber Racing 2-day advanced Racing School at Road Atlanta. Furthermore, I am working towards setting up a fully competitive race team made up of fellow injured veterans so they can also benefit from everything motorsport has given me. We are currently working to run two Mustangs with all injured veteran drivers in the ChampCar Endurance Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July!
I am currently rebuilding my Mustang. I blew up an engine last year and decided to completely overhaul the car. I am replacing the 4.6 2V with a Coyote Aluminator and just got done fixing all the sheet metal damage from 2012 with the help of Tasca Parts. Tasca was able to find me some long-discontinued Ford OEM parts. Reliability is a huge component of this build and I did not want to use aftermarket or used parts in my build.
The Mustang will be ready for the 2019 season! Please follow my story as I continue this build and my racing endeavors! Thank you Tasca Parts for all the help so far. I am sure I will be placing more TascaParts.com orders very soon!
To learn more about Jon, his Mustang, his racing, and his advocacy for adaptive driving, check out the following links:
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