Volusia Track Officials Respond After Spectator Injuries

Volusia Speedway Park officials have responded after three spectators were injured on Sunday night. (Paul Arch Photo)

BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Volusia Speedway Park and DIRTcar officials have responded after three spectators were injured when a sprint car flew over the turn-two fence at the half-mile dirt track during Sunday night’s World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series feature.

Officials confirmed Monday afternoon that in addition to repairing the catch fence that was damaged on Sunday, the pit area closest to the racing surface in turn two will be closed to all competitors, participants and officials for the remaining six nights of racing.

While not affected by the incident Sunday night, a small set of bleachers intended for use by competitors and crew members that would have fallen within the restricted area has also been removed.

Sunday’s incident started when Dale Blaney, Rico Abreu and Jason Sides crashed early in the 30-lap feature. Blaney’s car flipped and left the track before coming to rest outside the track, striking three spectators.

The three injured individuals were transported to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. One was transported via helicopter and the other two via ambulance. One of those injured, United Kingdom native Gary Streek, has since been released from the hospital.

The other two spectators were identified by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office as 35-year-old Kelly Kovski and 68-year-old Michael Brooks. Kovski, a veteran of 26 ARCA Racing Series events and Justin Allgaier’s UMP modified crew chief, was listed in stable condition while Brooks was listed in critical condition on Monday.

Allgaier will not compete in the remainder DIRTcar Nationals and Kovski’s family has requested privacy while he recovers from his injuries.

Blaney, Abreu and Sides were not injured in the incident.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of our racing family injured Sunday night, and we are encouraged by the reports of the excellent care they are receiving at Halifax,” said Brian Carter, CEO of the World Racing Group, the parent company of both DIRTcar and Volusia Speedway Park.  “We have implemented additional safety measures and are very proud of our emergency medical personnel and their response to the incident.”

In a statement released Monday afternoon, track officials said they worked through the night Sunday to provide support to the family and friends of the participants involved in the incident.

According to a statement by track and event officials, no race car had compromised a catch fence at the speedway since 2005 when the World Racing Group purchased the facility. Blaney’s car was the second to exit the track in the turn-two area in less than a week. Joey Saldana’s sprint car flipped out of the track on Wednesday night in the same area, but no one was injured in that incident.

“The safety and well being of every individual attending a World of Outlaws, whether as a participant in the pit area, a fan in the grandstand, a concession worker, race official or emergency responder is a priority.” said World of Outlaws President Tom Deery. “The World of Outlaws compete at the best dirt tracks in the country, we are constantly evaluating and implementing new procedures to improve safety at our events and have already begun that process in response to this weekend’s incident. We ask the racing community to keep the individuals who have not yet been released from the hospital in their prayers and plan to respect their privacy as requested by the families.”

The DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park will continue this week with six nights of late model and modified racing. Sunday’s World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series races was the final sprint car event at Volusia during the DIRTcar Nationals.