Local News

Race Car Drivers Refuse To Let Recent Fatal Crashes Affect Their Lifestyle

Posted July 6, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— NASCAR driver Kenny Irwin is dead after a crash at the New Hampshire International Speedway. Race car drivers say they know the risks, but keep getting behind the wheel.

Irwin was entering the third turn when his car went hard into the wall and flipped onto its roof. Doctors say the 30-year old racer died from multiple injuries.

This is the second tragedy on the race track in recent months. Adam Petty, stock car racing's first fourth-generation driver, died May 12 after a crash during practice on the same track.

Petty, 19, appeared to brush the wall on the third turn before spinning out and smashing sideways into the concrete. He was taken to Concord Hospital, where he died of head trauma.

Randy Renfrow raced for 29 years on the Wake County Speedway as well as the same racetrack that took the life of Irwin. He says he was shocked about Irwin's death.

"It really surprises me about the Loudon track. You don't expect people to get hurt there," Renfrow says. "You may expect people to get killed at Tallageda or Charlotte Motor Speedway or somewhere where they race fast."

Renfrow says he does not let the recent rash of fatal crashes on the track affect his racing lifestyle.

"He probably didn't think about stuff like that happening to him," Renfrow says. "I guess we think that we are invincible and we're not."

Irwin was the 1998 NASCAR rookie of the year. From staff and wire reports