Stewart-Haas Racing engineer DJ VanderLey suffered serious injuries during a race at a Texas dirt track on Sept. 22. His wife, Jordan VanderLey, said he has a spinal cord injury and suffered several fractured vertebrae. Stewart-Haas Racing added a decal on Riley Herbst's car for Saturday's race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth to show support for VanderLey.
VanderLey, 30, was injured during a micro sprint Outlaw race at the Texas Motor Speedway's dirt track. "He has several fractured vertebrae and has a spinal cord injury. We won't know the extent of the damage until later," Jordan wrote on Facebook early Friday. "He has been in surgery the past seven hours, and pray the Lord is guiding the surgeon's hands. We are asking that you lift our family in prayers for a miracle during this difficult time."
This weekend we race for DJ VanderLey, our No. 98 race engineer who was injured in a racing accident this week.— Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) September 24, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. pic.twitter.com/xfeJ8L1OtE
On Saturday, Jordan said her husband was out of surgery and it went well, although his doctors said it was "one of the worst" spinal injuries possible. "People do heal and we believe in miracles, so we are asking that you continue to lift him in your prayers as we pray for our miracle," she wrote. "Daren Jon is the strongest person I know so I'm so hopeful."
In another update on Sunday, Jordan thanked the racing community and their friends for their support. VanderLey can now breathe on his own, but he is still on a ventilator. "He's proving he's ready to have it out soon. He is experiencing some heavy swelling we ask that you lift in prayer to go down," Jordan added. "Once that swelling relieves he will be able to tolerate much and continue making progress."
VanderLey was NASCAR driver Chase Briscoe's engineer for four years and they are still close friends. He told NBC Sports he planned to visit his friend in the hospital on Saturday. "I hate that it happened to anybody... but for it to hit close to home has definitely been tough for me," Briscoe said. "I just hope that everybody continues to pray. That's really all we can do at this point, trying to hope he gets better."
Stewart-Haas Racing sent their thoughts and prayers to VanderLay's family Saturday. "Due to HIPAA regulations, Stewart-Haas Racing is not permitted to release further details on VerderLay's condition at this time. Friends and family have established a GoFundMe to support VerderLay," the team said. "The thoughts of everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing are with VerderLay and his family during this difficult time and all are praying for his recovery."