SAYLORSBURG — Folks at smaller race tracks in the Poconos are following the tragic crash that left a driver dead at a racetrack in upstate New York.
Drivers at Borger’s Speedway drive cars similar — but smaller — to a sprint car and they can hardly believe what happened on that New York track.
Bob Snyder works at Borger’s Speedway in Saylorsburg and has been connected to racing for about 45 years.
He, like so many others, saw the crash that killed sprint car driver Kevin Ward in upstate New York.
“That’s going to be big trouble for racing. It was just a very unfortunate situation,” said Bob Snyder of Borger’s Speedway.
Nascar Driver Tony Stewart hit and killed Ward when he walked out of his car on this dirt track in upstate New York this past weekend.
Saylorsburg driver Brandon Azzalina drives the smaller version of those sprint cars and says the accident upset him.
“I just really couldn’t believe it. I don’t think any race car driver wants to hurt another race car driver,” said Azzalina.
Snyder says there’s a strong chance Stewart never even saw Ward because of the car’s design.
“The sprint cars have a top wing, which is used for down force, and on the right side which would have been between him and the driver, the side panel goes down, and the side vision to his right is very limited,” said Snyder.
After the tragedy at the track in Canandaigua, New York, officials at Borger’s Speedway say they’ll be taking some extra precautions come race time this weekend.
“I will stress at the drivers meeting on Saturday the abandonment rule, which we already have in place,” said Snyder.
Race car drivers say in the heat of the moment, many drivers have stepped out of their cars, and they hope NASCAR and other leagues use this tragedy as a time to set forth stronger rules against it.
Azzalina says hopefully that could prevent another tragedy of this kind.
“I wouldn’t recommend to anybody getting out of the race car. I really think they should enforce that now since they seen what happened. I don’t think anyone should be allowed out of their race car unless the car is on fire,” said Azzalina.
Raceways like this one say it’s also too soon to pass judgment on whether or not Stewart was trying to hit Kevin Ward.
They say right now drivers and fans need the time to mourn the loss of one of their own.