A Hero's Life Is the "Pits"

Hero gets NASCAR welcome

By Kim Fischer
|  Sunday, Apr 18, 2010  |  Updated 4:30 PM CDT
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Taking a Spin With NASCAR Driver Vickers

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Kevin Conway, driver of the No. 38 Extenze Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SUBWAY Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway on April 10.

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A heroic act during a plane crash at an Austin office building got the attention of a NASCAR race team.

Robin De Haven risked his life to pull people out of the building after a small plane dove into the building.

The Extenze Race Team asked De Haven to be crew chief for a weekend during the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

"I've just been trying to stay out of the way," De Haven said, laughing.

The Extenze Race Team has been honoring a local hero in every race city.

"Hey, there's a lot of people doing a lot of good things to make a difference in the lives of others," said Kevin Conway, the driver for Extenze Racing.

De Haven said he thought it was a joke when he got the call to attend.

"You can't believe it's real, that a NASCAR team is calling and wants you to come and get an inside look," he said.

Investigators say Joseph Andrew Stack flew his single-engine plane into the seven-story Eschelon Building on Feb. 18 after setting his house on fire. Stack, 53, is believed to have crashed his plane into the building because he was angry at the Internal Revenue Service.

De Haven was driving when he saw the plane.

"On the horizon, I saw this unidentified thing," he said. "It was white, and it was not a bird. I was like, ‘What is this?’ And it ended up being a plane, and I saw it go down."

He raced to the building and saw that it was engulfed in flames. He said the only thing he could think to do was run in and help.

"I was trying not to think about the fact that the building was on fire," he said. "I was just trying to think of what needs to happen right now."

De Haven also got to stand on pit row during the pace car lap, and he was presented with a check for $1,000.

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