MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say a car flipped over the infield fence at a central Pennsylvania speedway and struck a track volunteer, killing him.
The Cumberland County coroner’s office said two Sprint car drivers crashed into each other while rounding a turn at Williams Grove Speedway just before 9:30 p.m. Friday.
Coroner Charles Hall said one of the cars went out of control, hit the inside wall and then flipped up and over the infield fence, striking Richard Speck Jr., who was sitting in the back of a pickup truck parked along the fence.
Speck, 67, of Mechanicsburg, was pronounced dead at the scene, Hall said. Speck volunteered at the track driving a push truck, which assists the open-wheel race cars on and off the track.
Vicky Leah, who said she had been Speck’s neighbor in Mechanicsburg for five years, told the York Daily Record she was devastated by the news.
“Every Saturday, he would wash the truck down. I will miss seeing the dirt run off in the street outside his home from cleaning the truck after each race,” she said.
“Even our dog adores him, and he always welcomed her. He would stop what he was doing, yard work in most cases, to have her come to him for petting,” she said. “He would also talk about what a good race it was the night before.”
Driver Wyatt Hinkle, making his first racing appearance of the year at Williams Grove, said he always saw Speck at races. “He was someone who supported the sport so much,” he told the paper.
The speedway said the rest of Friday night’s racing program was canceled. State police, the coroner’s office and speedway officials are investigating the collision.