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Q2 AOW: Billings racer Gussie Lee perseveres through tragic accident

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Posted at 9:30 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 23:39:07-04

BILLINGS — Twenty-year-old Gussie Lee spends her afternoons at the tennis courts at Pioneer Park as an assistant coach for Billings Senior High School.

But her real love? Racing, which was sparked by her grandfather when she was young.

“When I was little he would take me out to Big Sky Speedway before I even raced. One day I finally said, 'I'm tired of watching this. Can I actually be in the car?' And it's been history since then," Lee said.

That was almost taken away from her last September, as an accident resulted in several surgeries and nearly the amputation of her right leg.

“I was letting my friend load up the race car on the trailer. We've done it before and it's one of those things where it's a safety protocol we didn't think through, unfortunately," Lee said. "The car ended up jumping and crushing me right into the trailer.

"It left me with a dislocated knee, fractures and blew my artery line out. I had a bypass surgery. It was crazy."

It’s been nearly eight months and Lee has only been walking without assistance for about a month. Her recovery is ongoing and trending upward, but there were undoubtedly dark times in the journey.

“It didn't look promising for a while. For sure, I was worried. I'm a very on-the-go person. I'm never just chilling out. I always had to stay busy," Lee said. "With PT, doctors, my parents and a bunch of amazing friends and family that helped me throughout this whole thing.

"They kept reassuring me and telling me I was going to be alright. I took their word for it, but I was definitely freaked out for a while."

That journey will come full circle on Saturday as Lee hops back in the saddle at Big Sky Speedway.

“I'm just excited to be back to normal," Lee said. "It's crazy that I still have my leg and I'm still here. I'm thankful and it really changed my perspective on a lot of stuff."