An announced NASCAR rule change and defendant’s ranking of its crew members had caused plaintiff to lose his tire-carrier position before he was injured, and, once the rule went into effect, plaintiff and other employees who had held the eliminated position were all terminated. Plaintiff’s on-the-job injury, which occurred between the announcement of the rule and its implementation, was not the cause of his inability to earn the same wage he had been earning on defendant’s NASCAR team.
We affirm the Industrial Commission’s denial of plaintiff’s claim for disability compensation.
Plaintiff was one of eight tire carriers on defendant’s NASCAR team when NASCAR announced that it was reducing the number of tire carriers from eight to four per team, requiring each tire carrier to carry two 65-pound tires instead of one. Defendant ranked its tire carriers, and plaintiff did not make the top four. He served on the pit crew in non-NASCAR races until the rule went into effect, and then he and three other tire carriers were terminated.
After the tire carriers had been ranked but before the new rule went into effect, plaintiff hurt his back during a team workout. He has permanent restrictions which would prohibit him from working as a tire carrier. He took a job earning lower wages than he had earned while working for defendant.
The Commission found that plaintiff’s reduced wages were not caused by his injury, but by his pre-injury relatively inferior ability as a tire carrier, the reduction in available positions, and the increased requirements of those positions. As this finding was supported by competent evidence, we are bound by it.
Donley v. Chip Ganassi Racing (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-228-22, 9 pp.) (Lucy Inman, J.) Appealed from the Industrial Commission. Bradley Smith for plaintiff; Duane Jones and Ryan Keevan for defendants. 2022-NCCOA-347