List of Daytona International Speedway fatalities

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The Daytona International Speedway has had 36 on-track fatalities since it opened in 1959: 22 car drivers, 9 motorcyclists, 3 go-kart drivers, 1 powerboat racer, and 1 track worker. Arguably the most notable was Dale Earnhardt, who died on February 18, 2001 in the 2001 Daytona 500.

Name Date of accident Event Cause References
Marshall Teague February 11, 1959 USAC-supervised test Teague conducted test runs preparing for a speed-record attempt in a Sumar Special, a reconfigured Indycar with a canopy and streamlined fenders; when he entered the west turn, the high-speed aerodynamic lift caused his racer to spin and flip end-over-end, throwing Teague, still strapped to his seat, from the car and killing him instantly. [1][2][3]
George Amick April 4, 1959 USAC Daytona 100 Champ Car race Exiting the west turn, Amick smashed into the outer guard rail on the backstretch straightaway, overturned, and traveled upside down before coming to a standstill in the infield. He died instantly. [1][4]
Byrne E. Taylor June 14, 1959 APBA Southeastern outboard race in Lake Lloyd Approaching the west turn, Taylor's C racing runabout spun, flipped and ejected him into the water where he was hit by an onrushing competitor. The 53-year-old physician was pronounced dead of a broken neck on arrival at Halifax Hospital. [5][6]
Martin Every June 18, 1960 Private engineering test Leaving the east turn, Every lost control of his Rambler, apparently due to a blown tire, and overturned. The 23-year-old amateur driver died about an hour later at Halifax Hospital. [7][8]
Harold "Habe" Haberling February 21, 1961 Practice for Modified Sportsman 250-mile race Having entered the east turn, Haberling's Chevrolet spun sideways, veered down the banking, and ran it up again before rolling over several times and coming to a stop near the infield grass. The 33-year-old driver died instantly. [9][10]
Billy Wade January 5, 1965 Goodyear tire test Wade was approaching the west turn when his Mercury blew a tire. After ramming and sliding along the outer retaining wall, the car skidded down to the apron, ran up the turn, crashed into the wall sideways and jerked to a halt. Wade was pronounced dead on arrival at Halifax Hospital from internal and head injuries. [1][11]
Don MacTavish February 22, 1969 Daytona Permatex 300 race Coming out of the east turn, MacTavish hit an opening in the outside wall covered by metal guard rail, shearing off the front of his Mercury Comet, which was then struck by Sam Sommers. MacTavish died instantly. [12]
Wayne Harris Bartz March 12, 1969 Lightweight motorcycle race Riding a Suzuki in a novice race, Bartz crashed into two downed bikes on the east turn. He was flung through the air and slammed on the ground. The 30-year-old motorcyclist died of massive injuries a short time later in the speedway hospital. [13][14][15]
Talmadge "Tab" Prince February 19, 1970 125 Mile Qualifying Race A blown engine caused Prince's Dodge Charger Daytona to slide sideways as it was going into the west turn where it was t-boned by Bill Seifert. Prince died of a broken back and compressed spinal cord. [16][17][18]
Joe "Rusty" Bradley March 14, 1971 Daytona 200 race Bradley lost control of his Kawasaki in turn one of the road course, his helmeted head hitting the track. The 21-year-old college student died of skull injuries in Halifax Hospital several hours later. [19]
David Pearl July 31, 1971 Central Florida SCCA meet — Paul Whiteman Trophy Race Coming to a halt in the center of the track after spinning out, Pearl's Brabham BT29 was broadsided by Milo Vega on the west infield turn of the road course. The 30-year-old university graduate was dead on arrival at the track hospital, having suffered a broken neck and fractured skull. [20]
Friday Hassler February 17, 1972 125 Mile Qualifying Race Hassler was involved in a multi-car pileup on the backstretch. His Chevrolet hit a wall, spun, and was struck by Jimmy Crawford, Hassler being knocked back into the wall. He instantly died of neck and head injuries. [16][21][22][23]
Don Williams February 17, 1979 Sportsman 300 race Coming out of Turn Two, Williams, who was driving a Chevrolet Chevelle, was involved in a multi-car pileup, incurring permanent brain damage, which left him in a semicomatose state until his death on May 21, 1989. [24][25][26]
Ricky Knotts February 14, 1980 125 Mile Qualifying Race Going into Turn One, Knotts, driving an Oldsmobile, made contact with Slick Johnson, crashed into the outside wall, collided with Blackie Wangerin, and skidded across the track and the infield grass before slamming into a concrete wall passengerside. Massive head injuries killed him instantly. [1][16][27][28][29]
Bruce Jacobi February 17, 1983 UNO Twin 125 Qualifying Race Caught by a gusty headwind exiting Turn 2, Jacobi drifted towards the wet infield grass where his Pontiac became airborne and somersaulted until its remains came to a stop near a dirt bank. Jacobi suffered head injuries and remained semicomatose until his death on February 4, 1987. [30][31]
Francis Affleck February 7, 1985 Daytona ARCA 200 practice Entering the backstretch, Affleck's Ford started to spin and flipped several times. Due to a failure of the window net, he was partially ejected, sustaining head and neck injuries. He was pronounced dead at Halifax Medical Center shortly after the crash. [32][33][34]
Charles Ogle December 15, 1985 Charlotte/Daytona Dash Series test A tire failure led to Ogle's Pontiac Sunbird digging into the infield grass near the bus stop chicane and becoming airborne. The car landed on its roof and only stopped sliding near an infield embankment. The 44-year-old physician succumbed to his head injuries eleven days later at Halifax Medical Center. [35][36][37]
Joe Young February 13, 1987 Charlotte/Daytona Dash Series Komfort Koach 200 race Involved in a multi-car pileup, Young's Chevrolet Cavalier was slowly sliding backwards between Turns 3 and 4 when hit almost head-on by Duell Sturgill with the impact ripping apart the front end of Young's car. The 38-year-old auto mechanic instantly died of multiple internal injuries. [38][39][40]
James Kolman December 27, 1987 WKA Enduro World Championships practice About to enter the infield section of the road course, Kolman, driving a Yamaha kart in the S Lite Class, left the course and hit a barrier. A short time later, the 25-year-old computer employee was pronounced dead at Halifax Medical Center. [41][42]
Randy Glenn February 27, 1988 Championship Cup Series practice Exiting the infield section of the road course, Glenn was killed in a crash with his Kawasaki EX500. The 38-year-old hobby motorcyclist was pronounced dead of massive head injuries at the infield care center. [43]
Dale Robertson December 27, 1989 WKA Enduro World Championships race Starting in the Sprint Sit-Up class, Robertson and several other drivers were involved in a crash. The 26-year-old racer died of massive head and chest injuries. [44]
Julius "Slick" Johnson February 11, 1990 Daytona ARCA 200 race Johnson's Pontiac Grand Prix was sliding sideways between Turns 3 and 4 when it made contact with David Simko's car just before hitting the outside wall, rebounding into the path of a spinning second car and being broadsided by a third one near the infield. Johnson sustained a basal skull fracture, a crushed chest, and other internal injuries. He died at Halifax Medical Center three days later. [45][46][47]
Joe Booher February 12, 1993 Goody's Dash Series Florida 200 race Entering Turn One, the right rear of Booher's Chevrolet Beretta clipped the left front of Carl Horton's car, which sent Booher head-on into the outside wall. Coming down across the track, he was struck in the right front by Rodney White. The 51-year-old owner of a truck farming business was pronounced dead of massive head and internal injuries at Halifax Medical Center. [48][49]
James Adamo March 7, 1993 Daytona 200 race Exiting the infield course, Adamo's Ducati 888 went straight into a stack of hay bales before striking a retaining wall and guardrail. The crash was caused by front brake failure. The 36-year-old motorcycle parts shop owner instantly died of massive head injuries. [50][51]
Neil Bonnett February 11, 1994 Daytona 500 practice Bonnett's Chevrolet Lumina swerved when coming off Turn 4, slid onto the apron, went up the banking, and crashed into the wall nearly head-on. Bonnett was pronounced dead of massive head injuries at Halifax Medical Center a little later. [1][52][53]
Rodney Orr February 14, 1994 Daytona 500 practice Entering Turn 2, Orr's Ford Thunderbird spun onto the apron, went up the banking, flipped over, and hit the wall roof-first. The crash, in which Orr was killed instantly, was triggered by a broken mounting stud, a part that holds the shock absorber to the car. [54][55]
Michael Himes January 31, 1997 Two-Hour IMSA Endurance Championship race Having entered the bus stop chicane, Himes's Honda Civic del Sol SI, instead of turning right, hit a tire wall head-on. The 42-year-old driver, who had retired from working in the computer chip manufacturing industry, was pronounced dead of severe trauma at Halifax Medical Center several hours after the crash. [56][57]
Roger Reiman March 4, 1997 BMW Battle of the Legends practice A collision involving several motorcycles caused Reiman to be thrown from his bike on the infield part of the road course. The 58-year-old Harley-Davidson dealer was pronounced dead at Halifax Medical Center. [58][59]
Chris Tatro March 2, 2000 CCS practice Riding a 600cc Kawasaki, the 22-year-old amateur rider crashed into the outside retaining wall on the high bank off turn four. A short time later, he died of head injuries and multiple trauma at Halifax Medical Center. [60][61][62]
Dale Earnhardt February 18, 2001 Daytona 500 race Going into the final turn, the rear of Earnhardt's Chevrolet Monte Carlo made contact with Sterling Marlin's front bumper, which caused Earnhardt to briefly slide towards the apron before shooting up the banking. His car was hit passengerside by an oncoming Ken Schrader so that the two cars were deflected towards the outside wall, which Earnhardt hit at a sharp angle. Their cars slid down the track, coming to a halt on the infield grass. Earnhardt died instantly, but wasn't pronounced dead until his arrival at Halifax Medical Center, killed by a basilar skull fracture. [1][63]
Dirk Piz March 11, 2001 AMA Buell Pro Thunder race Entering the bus stop chicane, Piz's Ducati 748 collided with Kiyoshige Watanabe's crashed bike, was lifted up, and sent Piz into the tire barrier to his right. The 45-year-old privateer was pronounced dead of internal injuries at Halifax Medical Center. [64][65][66]
Stuart Stratton October 19, 2001 CCS GTO race Practicing a start on his Yamaha YZF-R6 on pit road, Stratton hit and hurt an official, and veered into the wall. The 35-year-old rider was pronounced dead at Halifax Medical Center. [67]
Michael Davis Jr. December 30, 2001 WKA Dunlop Tire National Road Race Series race The 17-year-old go-kart racer was either killed by suddenly veering sideways and hitting a wall on the infield road course or by being bumped from behind and thrown from his Yamaha Sportsman Lite vehicle in Turn 4. [68][69]
Bryan Cassell Jr. October 18, 2003 CCS/FUSA Fall Cycle Scene practice Slowing down at the exit of Turn Four, Cassell's Lightweight/ThunderBike Ducati was rammed and run over by Jeff Tatham, who couldn't evade him. The 28-year-old rookie was pronounced dead at Halifax Medical Center. [70][71]
Roy H. Weaver III February 8, 2004 IPOWER Dash 150 race Weaver was picking up debris on Turn 2 during a caution period when he was struck by Ray Paprota’s Pontiac Sunfire. Once Paprota spotted the track worker, he hit his brakes, but went into a lateral slide and caught Weaver with the rear of the passenger side. The 44-year-old supervisor of track crews was killed instantly. His death was ruled an accident by the Daytona Beach Police Department. [72][73]
Robert Boswell February 3, 2008 Richard Petty Driving Experience Boswell, slumped over the steering wheel and driving erratically, skidded down the Turn 2 embankment and hit a retaining wall. A medical examiner found that the 60-year-old man had suffered a heart attack. [74][75]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Daytona: From the Birth of Speed to the Death of the Man in Black. Hinton, Ed. Warner Books, 2001. ISBN 0-446-52677-0.
  2. ^ "Race star is killed at Daytona". The Miami News. February 11, 1959. 
  3. ^ Kahn, Bernard (February 12, 1959). "Experts divided on wreck cause". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 
  4. ^ Kahn, Bernard (April 5, 1959). "Racer Amick dies as Jim Rathmann sets worid mark". Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal. 
  5. ^ "Boat race canceled by death". The Miami News. Associated Press. June 15, 1959. 
  6. ^ Brown, Tom (June 15, 1959). "Orlando man killed in races". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 
  7. ^ "Driver killed at speedway". Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal. June 19, 1960. 
  8. ^ "5th speedway death". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. January 6, 1965. 
  9. ^ "Crash kills vet driver at Daytona". St. Petersburg Times. United Press International. February 22, 1961. 
  10. ^ Kahn, Bernard (February 22, 1961). "Racing driver dies in practice run". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 
  11. ^ Kahn, Bernard (January 6, 1965). "Wade killed in test run". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 
  12. ^ Kahn, Bernard (February 23, 1969). "Race driver killed; Lee Roy wins 300". Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal. 
  13. ^ "Milwaukee cyclist killed". Milwaukee Sentinel. United Press International. March 13, 1969. 
  14. ^ "Motorcycle racer dies in crash; 1st at Daytona". St. Petersburg Times. United Press International. March 13, 1969. 
  15. ^ "Cyclist killed at Daytona". The Pittsburgh Press. March 13, 1969. 
  16. ^ a b c Bill Fleischman/Al Pearce The Unauthorized NASCAR Fan Guide (1998-99), page 237. Visible Ink Press, 1999 ISBN 1-57859-111-2
  17. ^ "Rookie driver killed at Daytona". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. February 20, 1970. 
  18. ^ Britt, Bloys (February 20, 1970). "Talmadge Prince loses life in 3-car crash at Daytona". Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville, Kentucky). 
  19. ^ Kahn, Bernard (March 15, 1971). "Mann wins 200; young rider dies". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 
  20. ^ "Driver killed at Daytona". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. August 1, 1971. 
  21. ^ "Friday Hassler killed in 13-car pileup at Daytona". Schenectady Gazette. Associated Press. February 18, 1972. 
  22. ^ Kahn, Bernard (February 18, 1972). "Tennessee driver 'Friday' Hassler killed in pileup". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 
  23. ^ Granger, Gene (February 18, 1972). "Daytona drivers recall Friday's fatal run". The Spartanburg Herald. 
  24. ^ "Waltrip takes first in rain-shortened race". Rome News-Tribune. United Press International. February 18, 1979. 
  25. ^ Archdeacon, Tom (July 16, 1980). "The house where sorrow lives". The Miami News. 
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  27. ^ Balewski, Larry (February 15, 1980). "Rookie driver killed in race". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 
  28. ^ Holliman, Ray (February 15, 1980). "Desire for success kills Ricky Knotts". St. Petersburg Times. 
  29. ^ Gaillard, Luther (February 15, 1980). "Ricky Knotts' pursuit of a dream cost him his life". The Spartanburg Herald. 
  30. ^ Long, Gary (February 18, 1983). "The ultimate penalty looms over the qualifying races". Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Florida). 
  31. ^ "Race driver dies". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. February 6, 1987. 
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  37. ^ "Race driver Ogle dies". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. December 27, 1985. 
  38. ^ Froscher, Norm (February 14, 1987). "Joe Young dies in Daytona crash". Gainesville Sun. 
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  40. ^ Winderman, Ira (February 14, 1987). "6-car Daytona crash kills 1 Va. mechanic, 38, dies instantly from head-on compact collision". Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. 
  41. ^ Kelly, Godwin (December 28, 1987). "Speedway kart crash kills racer". The News-Journal (Daytona Beach, Florida). 
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  43. ^ Kelly, Godwin (February 28, 1988). "Cyclist dies in crash at speedway". Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal. 
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  45. ^ "Driver critically injured". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. February 12, 1990. 
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  48. ^ "Three-car crash claims life of driver Booher". Times-News (Hendersonville, North Carolina). Associated Press. February 13, 1993. 
  49. ^ Zier, Patrick; Barker, John (February 13, 1993). "Accident claims 200 driver". The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida). 
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  52. ^ Zier, Patrick (February 12, 1994). "Daytona crash kills Bonnett". The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida). 
  53. ^ Harris, Mike (February 12, 1994). "Neil Bonnett remembered for devoting life to racing". The Free Lance–Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia). Associated Press. 
  54. ^ Owens, Jeff (February 15, 1994). "Tragedy shocks NASCAR scene. Rookie racer Orr killed in crash". Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, South Carolina). 
  55. ^ Berry, Steve; Williams, Charean (July 3, 1994). "Broken part caused Orr to crash". Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, South Carolina). 
  56. ^ "IMSA driver is killed at Daytona". Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, South Carolina). February 2, 1997. 
  57. ^ Dame, Mike (February 2, 1997). "Somber mood pervades Imsa's start". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 19, 2013. 
  58. ^ "Veteran Reiman dies at Daytona". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. March 5, 1997. 
  59. ^ Fontenay, Blake (March 5, 1997). "Motorcycle legend Reiman dies at Daytona practice". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. 
  60. ^ Brewington, Kelly; Hager-Van Dyke, Charlene (March 3, 2000). "Racer dies in wreck at track". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. 
  61. ^ "Amateur racer dies in Bike Week crash". Charlotte Herald-Tribune. March 4, 2000. 
  62. ^ Macur, Juliet (March 12, 2000). "Racer's thrill ends before it can start". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. 
  63. ^ "Dale Earnhardt death overshadows Waltrip win at Daytona". Kingman Daily Miner. Associated Press. February 19, 2001. 
  64. ^ "Mladin, Oliver, Nash win at Daytona on day marked by crashes and attrition". Roadracing World. March 11, 2001. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. 
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  67. ^ "Racer Stuart Stratton killed at Daytona". Roadracing World. October 19, 2001. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. 
  68. ^ "WKA: Michael Davis, Jr. dies after accident at Daytona". Motorsport.com. January 3, 2002. Archived from the original on October 10, 2013. 
  69. ^ Finder, Chuck (February 18, 2002). "Family mourns for young racer who was last to die at Daytona". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. 
  70. ^ "CCS amateur killed during practice at Daytona". Roadracing World. October 18, 2003. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. 
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  72. ^ Newberry, Paul (February 9, 2004). "Paraplegic driver hits, kills Daytona worker". Bangor Daily News. Associated Press. 
  73. ^ "Track worker was hit by car". ESPN.com. Associated Press. February 10, 2004. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. 
  74. ^ "Man dies at Petty Driving Experience after heart attack". WESH.com. February 4, 2008. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. 
  75. ^ Reed, Kristen (February 5, 2008). "Apopka man dies at Daytona racetrack". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 19, 2013. 

External links[edit]