PENN YAN, N.Y. (WROC) — Former racecar driver and Penn Yan resident Craig Horning has had his share of surgeries over the years. 

“I’ve had two kind of back to back surgeries to my heart. I had a quadruple bypass a couple of years ago,” Horning said.

Horning has been in seven championships in his career, racing formula cars, to modified sedans, to prototypes across North America. But the battle of his life didn’t come from a slip up on the racetrack. As he puts it, the main engine of his body needed immediate maintenance.

Out in Cleveland working last spring, Horning noticed something wasn’t right.

“I thought it was kidney stones, which I’ve had before, and it felt similar, but felt a lot more severe,” Horning said. “My aorta had burst.”

Three liters of blood leaked into his abdomen causing crippling pain and pressure. He was airlifted to the Cleveland Medical Center, his heart stopping on the way. 

“They had to jump start me,” Horning said.

Dr. Vick Kashyap who treated Horning at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center said, “A ruptured triple A is an extremely lethal condition.”

Kashyap said only 40 percent of patients who make it to the emergency room with that condition survive. 

“Mr. Horning’s case was extremely serious. But I’m happy to say he did very well with his repair,” Kashyap said.

“They saved my life. They really did. Otherwise I’d just be another statistic,” Horning added.

Horning said he’s still not quite there in terms of peak shape, but he’s taking it a day at a time exercising. He doesn’t want to cross the finish line of life just yet.