Steve Warf, 46, a drag-racing crew member from LaGrange Highlands, was working on a

car engine at a Top Fuel Drag race in Columbus, Ohio, three years ago when the car’s

owner turned on the engine. It took off the middle finger and the tips of three other

fingers on Warf’s right hand.

A Cook County jury awarded Warf a $2.2 million verdict against Ralph White Racing

of LaGrange.

“He started the engine with my guy’s hands in it, and that exhibits an indifferent

attitude,” said Warf’s attorney, Robert Napleton. “That’s a 6,000-horsepower engine,

compared to your average engine which has a horsepower of 250. These things use rocket

fuel and go from zero to 100 in 8 tenths of a second,” Napleton said. Warf traveled

the country working as an unpaid pit crew worker on White’s team, Napleton said.

While he is still able to serve as the plant manager of a Broadview auto parts

company, Warf had to quit his part-time job as a firefighter and emergency medical

technician for Brookfield. “He had to retire from the Fire Department–he had no

strength to hold an ax, or a hose,” Napleton said. “He can throw a baseball, but a

football or 16-inch softball is a problem,” he said.