On Sunday’s editions of SportsCenter, narrator Tom Rinaldi and SC Featured will tell the story of Harli White, a young sprint car racer from Oklahoma who was badly burned in a fiery crash when she was only 12 years old.
As she was trapped in her burning car, White’s life could have ended that night in 2008. Instead, another driver climbed from his car, ran across the track, and pulled her from the flames.
After a long recovery, displaying a true racer’s determination, she returned to driving, and in 2013 won a racing championship.
Miriam Greenfield, who produced “Forged Through Fire” for the ESPN Features Unit, was drawn to White’s story as soon as she heard about it and began to research it.
“What I saw was remarkable,” Greenfield said. “There’s a video of her accident – you see that video and you can’t believe she survived that. And when you see her and see how she is thriving and what she is doing now, that’s what grabbed us.”
Greenfield and her crew met White last October at Outlaw Motorsports Park in Muskogee, Okla., site of her final race of the season in the Oil Capital Racing Series. White, who carries burn scars across her back and down her legs, secured the OCRS sprint car season championship that night.
Greenfield, an Emmy Award winner who started at ESPN as a production assistant trainee in July 1995, and has been with the Features Group since December 2006, feels that SC Featured viewers will find White’s story compelling. The driver turns 19 in April.
“When you meet her, and you see her flying around the dirt track, and she’s barely 5 feet tall, and I don’t even know if she even weighs 100 pounds,” Greenfield said. “Just to see her toughness, and she just drives with no fear, despite everything she went through. It’s her love for racing. I know it sounds clichéd, but that’s all she wanted to do, nothing would have stopped her.”
The feature, which is a joint SC Featured/espnW project, will debut in Sunday’s 10 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter and re-air on subsequent editions of the program throughout the day. An accompanying article will appear on espnW.com.