NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — A New Smyrna Speedway track official died overnight following Saturday night’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing program.
Matt Weaver of Short Track Scene reported the story initially, and other media outlets have since confirmed the death of longtime racing official Rusty Crews early Sunday morning.
Crews was 59.
Tech official Rusty Crews died overnight in New Smyrna Beach according an official track source. He had attempted to break up a second post-race fight between two Sportsman division teams after racing concluded prior to his death, according to multiple sources. Details, story TK.
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) February 7, 2021
The details surrounding Crews’ death are unknown pending an autopsy, however, according to a news release from the Volusia County Sherriff’s Office, he attempted to break up a fight between crew members at the conclusion of the sportsman feature and was later transported to AdventHealth New Smyrna Beach.
An Emergency Services Synopsis from the city of New Smyrna Beach patrol log noted that “Officers responded to assist deputies with a large fight” at 12:24 a.m. Sunday at New Smyrna Speedway.
The Volusia County Sherriff’s Office said that Crews “went in to disperse the crowd, according to witnesses, and also became involved in an altercation. Afterward, with the crowd dispersed and parties separated, witnesses said Crews sat down and began having a medical episode.
“A witness started performing CPR on Crews before an EMS crew arrived, took over CPR and transported Crews to the hospital. At this point in the active investigation, there is no evidence of a direct link between Crews’ death and any specific actions of anyone involved in the altercation.
An autopsy to determine Crews’ cause of death was scheduled for Sunday.
New Smyrna Speedway owner Robert Hart reflected on Crews’ loss in a statement on Sunday afternoon.
“Rusty was a true friend, always looked out for others at the racetrack, and loved racing,” said Hart. “I can’t describe how terrible this loss is.”
Track manager Rusty Marcus added, “This is an incredibly difficult time and during our employee meeting numerous friends of Crews stated that his desire would be to continue with the program and keep racing. While this is a tough time, we are going to move forward and honor his memory as a racing family.”
New Smyrna Speedway officials noted that the track will continue to work with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and will make further updates and statements as information becomes available.
Saturday marked the second of nine consecutive nights of racing at the half-mile paved oval during the 55th annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.