Mark Dobmeier recovering after suffering second- and third-degree burns on his legs during a race in Arizona

The Grand Forks driver now recovering at home after spending 10 days in Arizona burn unit.

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NOSA sprint car driver Mark Dobmeier holds the checkered flag after winning a 2019 feature race at the Bullring. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — Mark Dobmeier’s career as one of the country’s top sprint car drivers has seen him take the checkered flag at race tracks across the country.

It’s also seen him survive a number of nasty wrecks, an unfortunate — yet inescapable — part of racing high horsepower, open wheel sprint cars.

And now, it’s seen him survive perhaps a race car driver’s biggest fear — fire.

Dobmeier suffered second- and third-degree burns on his legs while racing at the Central Arizona Speedway in Casa Grande, Ariz., on March 10. Near the midway point of the feature, Dobmeier slowed his car as fuel was leaking onto his legs.

Fire quickly ensued as he was exiting his car. At least two drivers and the track’s safety crew helped put out the fire on his legs.


Minutes later, he was airlifted to the Arizona Burn Center in Phoenix, where he spent the next 10 days undergoing surgery and skin grafts.

He was released Monday and now is recovering at home.

"The doctors were happy with the way things turned out," said Dobmeier.

But he now faces recovery on an outpatient basis in Grand Forks and Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

Immediately after the incident, the severity of the burns weren’t immediately known.

"Burns take between 48 and 72 hours to show their true face," said Dobmeier. "My right leg got the worst of it. They grafted a bunch of skin off my right thigh. Everyone heals differently. They won’t give me a timeline on recovery."

But he was released Monday after showing that he and his wife, Jacque, could change his bandages.

"The biggest thing is to not get an infection," he said.


While in the hospital, Dobmeier received a call from legendary sprint car driver Doug Wolfgang, who was badly burned during a World of Outlaws feature in 1992.

"He heard what happened to me and reached out to me," said Dobmeier. "He gave me a pep talk. We compared stories. He talked about what he went through. He had 118 days of skin grafts."

This is the second time since the 2020 season that Dobmeier has faced a lengthy road to recovery after racing his sprint car. In July of 2020 during a World of Outlaws race in New Richmond, Wis., Dobmeier suffered a severe back injury after a crash.

He burst his L-4 vertebrae and fractured his L-3 vertebrae. He recovered at Regions Hospital, the same facility where he will undergo outpatient care for his burns.

Dobmeier did return to racing in the middle of the 2021 season.

He has no set timetable on his latest recovery.

"We have to take this seriously," he said. "This is an intensive wound."

He was asked if he planned to race again.


"I ordered a new fire suit if that answers your question," he said.

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.

He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.

He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.

Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or
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