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Race car driver survives 22 hours trapped under ATV

Charlie Putman is thanking his lucky stars after surviving an ATV accident that had the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship driver pinned under the vehicle for more than 20 hours in near freezing temperatures before getting rescued.

The incident occurred on Sept. 14 at Putman’s 15,000-acre ranch near Casper, Wyo., where he was out for an afternoon ride on his own.

His wife, Dianne, ended up calling 911 for help when he didn’t return home, but the former Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge champion wasn’t found until the next afternoon following an air search and rescue.

“When the moon came on up, as beautiful as it was, that was a pretty disappointing sight,” Putman said in an interview on Wyoming Medical Center’s Web site. “I really did have doubts that I would make it through the night. You start putting your house in order, so to speak.”

Putman, 63, sustained several rib fractures, two broken vertebrae and contusions to his head and lungs, as well as reduced functions of his kidney and has spent the past week at Wyoming Medical Center for observation.

“Everybody who came out and searched and worked and refused to give up, they were out there in the dark, in near impossible conditions, because they were not giving up one bit. That really made me feel good to hear, because I was doing a lot to not give up,” he said.

While having missed last weekend’s Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas, which resulted in his Fall-Line Motorsports Audi R8 LMS being withdrawn, it’s unclear if Putman will be ready to return to the cockpit for the season-ending Petit Le Mans next month.

However, considering what he just went through, it wouldn’t surprise many to see him back behind the wheel again sometime soon.