Chaos and harmony rarely converge.


Flying sideways through the muddy high banks, enduring numbing vibration and a constant roar, only to launch 105 mph down the straight, inches from the other metal-caged competitors: These are the notes that compose sprint car racing.


For a junior in high school this should be intimidating, even frightening. For John McCall, it's racing.


"I'm in my own world; it's all I'm focused on," said McCall. "There's nothing else; it's just the racetrack and me."


On Oct. 17th, a regular day at the Victor Valley Fair Grounds, Sultana student McCall entered his 850 horse-powered, 1250-pound racing vehicle, not knowing the future predicament he would be facing.


When beginning the race, the contestants compete in a "hot lap" then the remaining eight participants go through a "heat race" which concludes with the main event, the final race. The track is a total of three-eighths of a mile long, designed to test the skills of entrants.


This event was McCall's ninth race and already in his rookie year he has sponsors such as Simpson, Triple Seven Race Cars, and his parents.


Though he had the support, courage, equipment, and training that prepared him well for this event, like any other sport, outcomes remain unpredictable. The race started well, but suddenly turned into a horrific experience, as after McCall's first win, his car burst in to flames without warning. They later discovered a broken fuel line caused the fire. Though the car made it out with only burned seats and a couple of melted fuel lines, McCall received second-degree burns on his entire right arm and hand as well as third-degree burns on both of his legs.


For the next 10 days, McCall was stuck in the hospital. On the third day he went into surgery, receiving four skin graphs to his right leg and two on his left. Fear and anxiety filled his parents' minds as they rotated in and out of his hospital room, spending the night with John for the full 10 days.


"They were freaked out," said McCall, "but they know it's what I love to do, so they were encouraging me to get back in."


When McCall was finally discharged from the hospital, he then was ordered to have bed rest for the next month due to his lack of ability to walk while his burns healed.


"It's changed my life. Sometimes, I have a hard time sleeping cause I think about it, but time will heal."


McCall's advice to anyone competing in a sport would be to, "be prepared, know what can happen because you may not think something will happen to you, but then it happens."


All of McCall's triumph and misfortune from that night were captured on video and have since been posted on YouTube. Though John knows that his videos are on YouTube and doesn't mind people watching, he has decided that he will never watch them. He described being caught on fire as simply "unexplainable," but he is staying positive.


"You always have to stay positive because once you have a negative mindset, you can't heal."


In four to five months, McCall will be able to once again race, but until then he is enjoying being back at school and able to roam the hallways with his walking abilities fully regained.


McCall is currently building two new cars for the 2010 season, and is "excited" to get back to the winner's circle.


This story originally appeared in the December issue of the Sultan Static, the Sultana High School newspaper. McCall's win, and the fire that ensued, is posted on YouTube: http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=cWFGAJbNlC8