Adaptive Race Car Featured at Assistive Technology Expo

Craig Hairston

Craig Hairston and his unique dragster

A specially adapted 200 inch long dragster will be on display as part of the South Carolina Assistive Technology Expo at the Spartanburg Renaissance Marriott on Thursday, March 18. The driver, Craig Hairston, uses a wheel chair and has adapted the race car with hand controls, and will be there to talk about his experiences.

In January of 1979, an automobile accident left Craig with paralysis.  According to Craig, the challenge was not “What will I have to give up?” but “How can I do it now?”  Prior to the accident, Craig had been involved in various forms of racing, and one thing he knew was that motorsports competition would still be part of his lifestyle.

By 1983, he raced in one of the toughest races known to man, the Baja 1000.  Racing in a specially prepared off road car with hand controls, he not only finished, but won his class and received a special “Racer’s Spirit” award from the SCORE sanctioning body.

Since that time he has continued to race in off road vehicles, Mini-Sprint cars, Legends cars, and is now building a dragster he calls the ”World’s Quickest Wheelchair” to see if he can crack the 200 MPH barrier in a quarter mile.

When asked why he chose racing as is his recreational passion, Craig responded, “In racing, there’s no separate class for me. There’s no sympathy, special privileges, or accommodations. I’m either going to be the best on that day or I’m going to have to come back and try again.  Racing doesn’t separate me from everyone else, it includes me.”

Another important part of the racing program is the positive effect it has on other people with disabilities, especially kids. I am always in awe of a young person that has to fight the battles of any disability to have a quality life.  Underneath the label of being disabled, they are regular people that have passions, dreams, and goals just like everyone else. So my real joy is inviting a young person with a disability to come join the team and be part of the racing experience. At the end of the weekend, if they go home with a big smile on their face, then I’ve made a small difference.”

Don’t miss Craig and other assistive technology exhibits and workshops at the AT Expo, March 18 from 9 am to 4 pm. The Expo is free and open to the public.

Return to Expo 2010

Sponsored by the South Carolina Assistive Technology Program at the USC School of Medicine Center for Disability Resources, the SC Department of Education, the SC Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, the SC Association for Educational Technology, the SC Assistive Technology Advisory Committee, Division of State Information Technology (DSIT), SC Budget and Control Board, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Department of Education, the Charles Lea Center, and Spartanburg Community College