50 Most Bizarre Car Racing Moments REDONE (42-34)

42. RUBEN GARCIA’S CRASH (1988, NASCAR CUP, RIVERSIDE)

RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 41ST

Journeymen are what make racing so enjoyable.

Ruben Garcia of South El Monte, California is one such journeyman. According to the LA Times, Garcia started out in 1970 after getting back from Vietnam making $2.50 an hour building motorhomes. In 1985, he was president of R&R Custom Coachworks, Inc., a motorhome distributor that raked in $32 million in 1984. Garcia raced every now and again throughout the 1970s, but when he finally returned to racing in 1984 after a few years off, he immediately found success, finishing third in the 1985 Winston West points with two wins. Garcia was even able to qualify for a few NASCAR Cup races at Riverside.

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Credit to Myles Regan

In 1988, during the very last NASCAR race at Riverside, Garcia drove his #32 Pick-Your-Part Chevrolet Monte Carlo car into the top 20, but on lap 29 of 95, it all came to an end. Something broke and the car veered hard left off of turn nine. The car entered an opening in the barrier and struck an angled steel guardrail protected by a tire wall, which was easily folded by the car. It went through a chainlink fence from there, then collapsed a brick wall with a set of barrels behind it. The car came to a halt against one final barrier protecting the crowd, and Ruben got out of the car unhurt, but he did not start any further Cup or West races after that.

41. MASS DQ AT THE ITALIAN F3 FINALE (2012, ITALIAN F3, MONZA)

RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 21ST

As national and regional Formula Three leagues start to fall by the wayside and Formula Four begins to take over as the go-to for national leagues, the amount of national F3 leagues thin to a point where as of 2017 there are only five: Japan, Brazil, Austria, Australia, and Switzerland, a ‘Formula Three’ league in Britain that actually just runs souped-up F4 cars, and two European leagues, one of which, European Formula Three, will be merging with GP3 in 2019.

Italian F3 concluded a run which had begun in 1964 in 2012, and its last race was rather controversial. Ten cars, two Mygales and eight Dallaras, entered the Monza finale, with Romain Agostini’s Mygale leading with 240 points over a pair of Dallaras, Brandon Maisano, who had 229 and Eddie Cheever III, who had 227. Cheever won race one and was able to gain a few points on Agostini, but then it all went downhill.

For reasons I could never find described beyond ‘technical infractions’, Cheever and Maisano were both disqualified from race two, handing Agostini the championship. It then proceeded to worsen when all eight Dallaras were disqualified from race three. Once again I never found a specific reason, but every Dallara in the field was disqualified, leaving only two cars classified: Romain Agostini and fellow Mygale Nicholas Latifi. What a way to wrap up forty eight years of racing…

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Credit to Juzaphoto

 

40. ARCA FINISHES A RAIN RACE (2010, ARCA, PALM BEACH)

RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 18TH

As mentioned earlier, ARCA can be a bit of a fail series from time to time. However, it’s actually done something that NASCAR’s top series has never done: run a rain race.

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Credit to Red LineNEW 

Rain racing is part of motorsports. Every now and again, drivers throw on some rain tires and inch their way around the circuit. Stock cars very, very rarely rain race, however, mostly because it’s almost always only a road course thing. Races like the Daytona 500 can’t be held in the rain, of course. NASCAR has rain raced on an oval once before with its European division at the Tours Speedway, a literal parking lot oval with drainage systems which permit racing in a light shower, and has run a few rain races in the Xfinity Series. The Cup Series has never used rain tires in a race, however. Not including the Elkhart Lake race in 1956, which came in a day where drivers could use almost any kind of tire they wanted as long as the tires were a certain width and height, the most the Cup Series has ever done in the rain is a practice session. Yet ARCA, usually seen as the joke series, ran a rain race at Palm Beach in 2010, and it went over just fine, with Justin Marks bringing home the trophy. Pretty ironic that the lower series accomplishes one of the toughest jobs in motorsports, something the top series has never even tried, isn’t it?

39. A DRIVER GETS TASED (2017, FIGURE EIGHT, ANDERSON)

NEW TO LIST

Racing is heated, but sometimes fights can get out of hand. There was, of course, the fight between Michael Simko and Don St. Denis at the 2006 Glass City 200 at Toledo where Simko dropkicked St. Denis’ windshield, but at a figure eight race at Anderson Speedway in Indiana in 2017, things got even worse.

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Credit to Jalopnik

During a race in mid October, Jeff Swinford and Shawn Cullen were unable to stay off one another, apparently colliding three times during a duel for the top spot. After one last bit of contact, Swinford drove his #3 car straight for Cullen’s stalled #33 vehicle. Swinford drove his car atop Cullen’s nearly crushing Cullen, and Cullen, infuriated, rushed out of his car and began punching Swinford repeatedly for a good thirty seconds, requiring an officer’s interventions.

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Credit to RTV6

Cullen was tased by the responding officer, and both drivers were arrested. According to the Associated Press, Cullen was charged with disorderly conduct, and Swinford was charged with misdemeanor criminal recklessness. Despite Cullen being tased, Swinford was the one being hung out to dry, as due to what was seen as a calculated maneuver to both attack Cullen and damage his car further, Swinford will likely never be allowed back to the Anderson Speedway, and was also fined all of the money he earned during all races he ran at the Anderson Speedway in 2017. Cullen was suspended for at least two events for leaving his car before the red flag could be flown. Both were DQ’d from the event as well.

38. REPEATEDLY HITTING THE SAFETY TRUCK (1998, RENAULT MEGANE, ZANDVOORT)

RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 17TH

Masters of Formula Three’s relevance and necessity has decreased with F3 itself. The race, which is held at Zandvoort, saw 47 entries in 1998 and only 16 in 2016, and wasn’t even held in 2017. However, Zandvoort is a good track choice for the race, with its undulating turns and many sand pits, the track is far from easy.

During a Renault Megane support race during the Masters of Formula Three weekend in 1998, a driver by the surname of Van Der Waals crashed on the end of the second lap after hitting some debris, sending his car airborne, but not injuring him. A local yellow was waved, and a safety truck arrived to assist Van Der Waals, who was standing near the barrier for whatever reason.

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Two cars dueling for position entered the last bend, and they both spun out. Van Der Waals hopped over the barrier just in time, and was forced to watch as the pair slammed into the back of the safety truck, knocking it into Van Der Waals’ car and sending the Renault to the inside of the circuit. Another safety truck arrived on scene, only to get rear ended by another spinning car. The first safety truck was then hit hard by a car that just didn’t turn. According to Ritzsite, no injuries were reported, and the race was red flagged and run to completion later that day.

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Screencap

Zandvoort’s social media said that the cause of this crash was a mix of the drivers not respecting the yellow flags and the day’s Meganes being bulkier and much easier to lose control of if the throttle is suddenly lifted.

37. JOHN PRIOR FLIPS AFTER THE RACE (1985, ARCA, DUQUOIN)

NEW TO LIST

Crashes after the race ends are rare, but they do occur, as drivers often still have a rush of adrenaline coarsing through their veins even after the checkered flag falls. Technically, Austin Dillon’s terrible crash at Daytona in 2015 was after the flag, though drivers were still at speed, as Daytona is not somewhere where you can slow down after the race. The one mile dirt oval at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in Illinois is not a superspeedway, yet John Prior proved that these accidents can happen anywhere and still be spectacular.

9.1.85 - Raymond Wins ARCA Southern Illinois 200 (bob mays)
Credit to Midwest Racing Archives

Lee Raymond was class of the field at the 1985 ARCA race at DuQuoin, passing Gary Bettenhausen early and, for the most part, hanging on to the lead for the rest of the 200 mile race. After Bettenhausen fell back, Dean Roper was the one chasing Raymond, though with the exception of a pit stop cycle he never passed him.

John Prior’s #00 and Bob Brevak’s #34, however, were the ones putting on a real show. The pair apparently traded the third spot several times in the last few laps, with Prior prevailing. Prior, a local driver, beat Brevak in a side by side duel, then proceeded to slide right into the turn one guardrail and flip his car after the checkered flag had already flown. Prior was okay.

36. RON FELLOWS’ STRANGE MANEUVER (2011, NASCAR N’WIDE, ELKHART LAKE)

RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 11TH

When NASCAR takes to Elkhart Lake, everyone wins. They always put on a wonderful show, and unexpected winners are frequently seen, with Nelson Piquet, Brendan Gaughan, the luckless Michael McDowell, and even independent veteran Jeremy Clements possessing victories at the circuit. In 2011, when the race was still a 200 miler rather than its current 180, road racing expert Ron Fellows was hoping to be that surprise winner. So when Justin Allgaier ran out of fuel under the race-ending yellow and Reed Sorenson was slowing down even further, he zoomed on by and was picked up by the pace car. However, when NASCAR reviewed the footage, they eventually gave the win to Sorenson. Why?

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Credit to Masslive

You cannot pass under yellow, of course. However, if due to driver neglect, a dry fuel can or mechanical issues, you are free to. There is no need to stay behind a driver who has stalled on the track. Sorenson did slow down, but not by very much, and he quickly got back going. After all, he’d just seen his teammate run out of fuel. Fellows appeared to read the rules too literally, seeing Sorenson slightly slow down and assuming he was out of fuel when he wasn’t. Sorenson was given the win at the end with Fellows second, and Fellows was not penalized further.

35. CRAIG JARVIS’ CRASH (2017, EXTREME SUPERCARS, KYALAMI)

NEW TO LIST

Sports cars are interesting to see race. They’re beautiful, sleek, and powerful, but on the other hand, one mistake and a million dollar racer can be lost, a massive hit to the pockets of teams and especially privateers…usually.

Extreme Supercars is a standard sports car series from South Africa in which Ferraris, Lambos, BMWs, and Porsches duel one another, with occasional appearances by Ford GTs, Alfa Romeos and McLarens. One common racer in this series is Craig Jarvis, who according to his own Facebook is a CEO at a company which assists in streamlining the medical billing process.

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Credit to The South African

During a qualifying session at Kyalami in early November 2017, Craig wrapped up his lap and shifted to the inside, where he collided with Johann Engelbrecht’s Porsche GT2 RS. Johann spun his Porsche into the wall, and Craig, who according to Engelbrecht’s team was unaware of Johann’s presence, backed his Ferrari 458 GT3 into the steel guardrail, sending the sleek sports car rolling end over end. Both drivers were okay, but Johann’s Porsche was badly damaged, and Craig’s Ferrari was a write off.

Despite this all, Craig posted to his Facebook within a few days of the crash that he’d acquired a new Ferrari, apparently having received an insurance payout. Insurance? On a Ferrari you use in racing? That’s news to me…

34. TAXBRAIN STEALS JUSTIN PHILPOTT’S CAR (2006, SUPER LATE MODEL, ALTAMONT)

NEW TO LIST

Forgiveness is a privilege to some.

In the mid 2000s, Justin Philpott was one of the up and coming super late model racers in California, running at Altamont and Stockton 99. He eventually caught the eye of tax sorting company Taxbrain. Taxbrain got its wanted publicity on the sixteen-year-old’s super late model, but apparently they wanted more, and they decided to steal Justin’s car straight out of victory circle the next time he won and film a commercial out of it. They told a few officials at Altamont Speedway, but no one else, and on August 13, 2006, they executed their plan. According to the East Bay Times, an unnamed actor hopped the fence, got in the car while the Philpotts were celebrating a win, and took off. He did about two or three laps before being stopped by a combination of Justin’s brother and a wrecker backed onto the circuit by track officials.

After a lengthy investigation, undisclosed sanctions were laid against Taxbrain, and no charges were filed. Bizarrely, however, Justin Philpott chose to keep Taxbrain for his moving up to the All American Series in 2007. In fact, Philpott, who is still racing in southern California and is still very successful, made one of the strangest moves I have ever seen a racer make. Instead of leaving a sponsor who conducted a stunt that could have easily killed him and his family behind him…

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Credit to NASCAR Home Tracks

…Justin stayed with Taxbrain for about another five years. So uh…are you sure that’s a good idea, Justin?

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50 Most Bizarre Car Racing Moments REDONE (50-43)

Well, we’re back. I decided to redo this list and see what new incidents and bouts of stupidity I could add. Fifty strange, bizarre and wild moments across the racing spectrum. I will not be including drag racing, motorcycles, or rallies simply to ease up on my selections. Maybe I’ll do separate lists for those another day, but for now…let’s get started.

 

50. JIMMY WATTS TIRE INCIDENT (2009, NASCAR CUP, ATLANTA)

RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 43RD

On lap 69 of the 2009 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a tire was spotted rolling out into the quadoval grass by several crewmen during the pit stop cycle. NASCAR’s policy is for crewmen to stay put if this happens, but evidently someone was not listening.

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Credit to Cowboys Corner

By trade a fireman in his late thirties, Jimmy Watts, the gasman for the #47 JTG-Daugherty car of Marcos Ambrose and a NASCAR crewman since at least 1998 according to the LA Times, rushed out to gather the tire and rolled it back to waiting officials. The pit stop cycle was under way, so had he not done this, NASCAR likely would have waited until the tire rolled further towards the track surface to throw the caution. However, with a crew member in the infield, NASCAR was forced to put the race under yellow during the pit stop cycle, trapping several cars a lap down. Watts would be banned for four races, with last updates noting the possibility of further penalties. He was also put on probation for the rest of the year. Watts publicly apologized, and even Marcos Ambrose himself noted that Watts’ decision to fetch the tire was not very smart.

Interestingly, according to motorsport.com, Watts was a fire captain in the city of Charlotte in 2002, and was mourning the loss of a fireman under his watch at the time of the interview. Watts knew tragedy, making this decision to cross the track even less understandable. Watts still works as a firefighter in the Charlotte area, and he still works as a gasman for Front Row Motorsports according to NASCAR’s website.

49. ARCA BRAKES DURING PRACTICE (1995, ARCA, DAYTONA)

NEW TO LIST

During practice for the 1995 ARCA Daytona 200, 1990 ARCA Series champion Bob Brevak, a grizzled veteran making one of his last couple starts in the series, spun his car and backed it into the wall in turn four. The veteran was uninjured, and the red flag was waved on the session as a safety truck arrived on scene.

ARCA is famous for the term ‘ARCA Brakes’, meaning drivers refuse to slow down in a crash. Though mostly falsely attributed to the ARCA Series, there have indeed been many instances of them in the series itself, with the following being a fairly unknown one.

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Credit to the Daytona Beach News Journal

Ron Burchette, an owner driver from North Carolina who mostly ran the big tracks, refused to slow down as he entered the accident scene and shot in between the stalled #34 and the safety truck. Burchette eventually slowed to a stop on the trioval apron, where he was promptly yelled at by the usually level-headed track workers. Brevak would fail to finish the 200, while Burchette, who retired from ARCA after a spectacular crash in the infamous Atlanta race the next year, finished tenth.

48. CRASH UNDER RED (2013, WTCC, MACAU)

RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 30TH

The World Touring Car Championship fell during its last couple years, but it made a few attempts to get the crowd back before its merger with TCR in 2018 such as the reintroduction of the famous Guia Race of Macau and some new gimmicks such as rallycross-style Joker Laps. But back to Macau, it’s a twisty hillside circuit with a few full speed highway sectors. Over the top of one of these hills was where the field would epic fail in 2013.

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Screencap

During the race, Tom Chilton suffered an exhaust failure on his Chevrolet Cruze and stalled the car at Maternity. Local driver Eurico de Jesus, in a Honda Accord, rounded the blind turn and, unsighted, plowed into the back of Chilton. Franz Engstler stopped his BMW 320 on the track’s outside, and so did Yvan Muller in his Cruze. Macanese driver Felipe de Souza in a Cruze, Hong Konger Charles Ng in a BMW, and Macanese Henry Ho in another BMW all piled in to Muller and Engstler, and the red flag was waved.

Even with the red flag having flown, several drivers seemingly did not care. Yukinori Taniguchi zoomed up the hill and smashed on the brakes, having noticed that the flagmen were putting their yellow flags down. Taniguchi did not hit anyone. Michael Soong and Jo Merszei (#70), on the other hand, were too busy battling to bother slowing down. Soong, a Hong Konger in a Seat Leon, and Merszei, a Macau native in a BMW, crashed into the back at Taniguchi despite the fact that the race had already been red flagged. Despite a second red flag, the race was resumed, with de Jesus, Chilton, Ng, Soong, Merszei, and Taniguchi out of the race.

47. JEAN ALESI JUMP START (2009, SPEEDCAR, BAHRAIN)

RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 50TH

Speedcars were an intriguing experiment.

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Credit to Automobilsport

In short, the Speedcar Series was a stock car series that ran in Asia for two seasons, 2008 and 2008-09. It was a neat idea, having F1 legends such as Vitantonio Liuzzi, Jacques Villeneuve, Jean Alesi, and Ukyo Katayama race stock cars across the Middle East, but due to finances the series did not last long.

At the series’ final race at Bahrain, the lights seemingly were delayed for whatever reason, and the drivers, performing a rolling start, were forced to stay in line until the race began. Jean Alesi, however, was unwilling to wait and, despite starting in the back, he was leading by turn one, having achieved one of the most blatant jump starts in all of motorsports by zipping by the entire grid before the lights had triggered.

Speedcar Series
Credit to motorsport.com

Alesi would not finish the race, which was won by Vitantonio Liuzzi, very well. The series, organized out of the British Virgin Islands of all places, ran out of money shortly thereafter when its backer pulled out, and that was the end of that.

46. JARED CARLYLE HORSE JUMP (2007, NZV8, PUKEKOHE)

RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 29TH

Being part of a team owned by, according to tentenths, one of the members of AC/DC, isn’t a guaranteed pass for a driver to be very lucky.

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Credit to Getty

Pukekohe Park in New Zealand is really weird. It’s a circuit full of swerves which, with the exception of a hairpin, are all high speed. It also used to be pretty low quality in terms of the circuit itself, possibly stemming from the fact that there’s a steeplechase layout for horses. But all in all, it just wasn’t a high quality circuit. A V8 Supercar famously took out a pole on which a PA transmitter was situated in 2005, warranting a red flag. In 2008, a pileup during the NZV8 race saw one car break one of the gates and four cars get on top of the guardrail, which folded, allowing two of them to go over the wall.

But youngster Jared Carlyle, part of a team apparently owned by one of the AC/DC members, showed just how ridiculous this track once was. He got turned around on the back chute in 2007 and took a wild ride over a horse jump.

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Screencap

After 2008, Pukekohe dropped off the V8 schedule, but returned in 2013 as a new and improved facility with proper tire walls, runoff, barriers where needed, and a new chicane at the end of the back chute. It’s stayed on ever since.

45. MAYR-MELNHOF FLIPS IN THE PIT LANE (2011, FIA GT, SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS)

RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 36TH

Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof, a sports car racer out of Austria, Eugenio Amos, the gentleman racer from Italy who is also the husband of model Margherita Missoni, and HSH Prince Albert Von Thurn Und Taxis, a billionaire leader of one of Germany’s Houses, came together for the 2011 24h of Spa in a Lamborghini Gallardo. Unfortunately, their effort ended just past the second hour.

Spa has two pit lanes, the F1 pit lane, where cars enter off the chicane and exit off of La Source, and the regular pit lane, which is entered off of La Source and exited off of Eau Rouge, with an access area lasting through Radillon. If the event has a large field size, such as the Spa 24h, the pit lanes are combined.

Entering the pit lane too quickly, Mayr-Melnhof slid his car on the wet access road. The car shot across the grass and struck a barrier right in front of the marshals and turning the car onto its door. Mayr-Melnhof was unhurt, but his day was over, and a safety car was warranted.

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Credit to GTspirit

Mayr-Melnhof ran in the Blancpain Sprint Series in 2017, while Amos and Von Thurn Und Taxis spent the year racing where they pleased. I suppose when you have money…

44. D.C. CROWDER STEALS THE PACE CAR (1986, NASCAR CUP, TALLADEGA)

RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 47TH

This one’s famous.

When the command to start engines at the 1986 Winston 500 was given, not everyone had stepped into their cars. Specifically, the pace car driver was out talking to a few officials still.

Enter Darren Charles Crowder, a 20 year old from Birmingham who’d had too much to drink and was standing in the pit lane. Seeing his opportunity, he hopped in and started up the red Pontiac Trans Am to take it for a 100mph joyride. Seemingly not every official had been told who the pace car driver was, so it took a bit for the officials to know it was stolen. Reportedly, the first words acknowledging the situation from an official who did know were: “Who’s that f–ker in the pace car?” (The Drive)

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Credit to Steve Cavanah

When the situation was identified however, the response was quick. Crowder was greeted by a roadblock of Alabama’s best when he came around to finish lap two, and he decided to slow, only to decide against giving up and lock the car’s doors according to The Drive. Someone had found a spare set of keys, and he unlocked the car’s doors, then Crowder locked them again before the doors could be opened. This pattern continued for a bit until Crowder was too slow in locking the door and was removed from the car. He was arrested, the race was started, and Bobby Allison would bring it home.

Interestingly, there appears to be no further documentation on Darren Charles Crowder. He’s disappeared off the Earth a la D.B. Cooper. Shall we call him D.C. Crowder?

43. SILVERSTONE RAIN STORM (1984, ETCC, SILVERSTONE)

NEW TO LIST

The days when the European Touring Car Championship was relevant…

As the field rolled in to Silverstone, the Jaguars were coming off of an excellent run at Spa, which they’d dominated similarly to how they’d destroyed the field so far that year. Mother Nature seemingly wasn’t on the side of the Jaguars, however, and she showed it in an incredible downpour.

Credit to Wim Heuving
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Credit to Picssr

A bit past halfway in the 107 lap race, the skies suddenly darkened while most of the cavalry was out on slicks. Rallyman Marc Duez was first off in a Rover, and from there cars just kept piling in. BMW driver Barrie Williams was in for a scare when he had to jump on the roof of Chuck Nicholson’s Jaguar to avoid the spinning Alfa Romeo of Terry Drury. Interestingly, most of the lapped cars were stuck in the pit lane still due to reduced priority in pit stops, so they were mostly spared. The Rover of Duez-Allam, the Jaguar of Percy-Nicholson, the Alfa Romeo of Drury-Wilds, the BMW of Williams-Sytner were out of the race, with the BMW of Felder-Hamelmann suffering heavy damage but eventually continuing after the restart. The race’s eventual winner were the pairing of Kelleners-Brancatelli in the BMW, though Jaguar easily brought it all home at season’s end.

 

The Tracks ARCA Has Run

This is a massive project. I will be cataloguing the circuits ARCA has raced at. I will list their location, their length, their surface, and what year they closed in. Listing what years they were run in would unfortunately take too long. I will put an asterisk if they are still used by ARCA, however. If there are multiple layouts, I will list what I find relevant. If a track was reconfigured, and is still open, I will mark what they currently use with a carrot. If all the layouts are still used, they’ll all have carrots.

411 MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 paved, 0.375 dirt^
Location: Seymour, Tennessee
STILL OPEN

AKRON RUBBER BOWL
Length: 0.2 dirt
Location: Akron, Ohio
Closed: Sometime after 1959 (track) REOPENING SOON (stadium)

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Length: 1.528 paved, 1.54 paved^
Location: Hampton, Georgia
STILL OPEN
Notes; Saw two fatalities, Stuart Lyndon in 1985 and Chad Coleman in 1998.

ANDERSON SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location: Anderson, Indiana
STILL OPEN

ASCOT STADIUM
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Ascot, California
Closed: 1990

AUTO CITY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 paved^, 0.25 paved^
Location: Clio, Michigan
STILL OPEN

AVILLA SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved, 0.333 paved
Location: Avilla, Indiana
Closed: Early 90’s

BAER FIELD SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 paved^, 0.375 paved^
Location: Baer Field, Indiana
STILL OPEN

BARBERTON SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location: Barberton, Ohio
STILL OPEN

BEAVER VALLEY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Martin, Kentucky
Closed: 1968

BERLIN RACEWAY*
Length: 0.4375 paved
Location: Marne, Michigan
STILL OPEN

BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Length: 0.625 paved
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Closed: 2008

BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.533 paved
Location: Bristol, Tennessee
STILL OPEN

BUTLER SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Butler, Pennsylvania
Closed: Likely Mid-50s

CANFIELD SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Canfield, Ohio
Closed: Mid-70s

CANTON MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location: Canton, Ohio
Closed: Mid-90s

CAPITAL CITY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.333 paved
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Closed: 2015 (LOOKING TO REOPEN)

CC SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
STILL OPEN

CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY*
Length: 1.5 paved
Location: Concord, North Carolina
STILL OPEN
Notes: Saw two fatalities, Blaise Alexander in 2001 and Eric Martin in 2002.

CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY*
Length: 1.5 paved
Location: Joliet, Illinois
STILL OPEN

CINCINNATI RACE BOWL
Length: 0.375 paved
Location: Evendale, Ohio
Closed: 1958

CLARKE COUNTY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 dirt
Location: Osceola, Iowa
STILL OPEN

CLAY CITY RACEWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Clay City, Kentucky
NEWLY REOPENED

CLOVERLEAF SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location; Valley View, Ohio
Closed: Early 90s

CLOVIS SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Clovis, California
Closed: 1977

COLUMBUS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.333 paved
Location: Obetz, Ohio
Closed: 2016

CORBIN SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt, 0.25 paved^
Location: Corbin, Kentucky
STILL OPEN

CROWN POINT SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 dirt, 0.375 dirt
Location: Crown Point, Indiana
Closed: 2005
Notes: Also went by Broadway Speedway.

DAYTON SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 paved
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Closed: 1982

DAYTONA INT’L SPEEDWAY*
Length: 2.5 paved
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
STILL OPEN
Notes: Saw two fatalities, Francis Affleck in 1985 and Julius Johnson in 1990.

DELAWARE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 paved
Location: Delaware, Ontario
STILL OPEN

DUQUOIN STATE FAIRGROUNDS*
Length: 1.0 dirt
Location: DuQuoin, Illinois
STILL OPEN

ELKO SPEEDWAY*
Length: 0.375 paved
Location: Elko, Minnesota
STILL OPEN

EXPO SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.625 dirt, 0.5 dirt^
Location: Cortland, Ohio
STILL OPEN
Notes: Was known as Trumbull County Speedway when ARCA visited.

FAIRGROUNDS NASHVILLE SPEEDWAY*
Length: 0.596 paved
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
STILL OPEN

FIVE FLAGS SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 paved
Location: Five Flags, Florida
STILL OPEN
Notes: Hosts the Snowball Derby and the Snowflake 100.

FLAT ROCK SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location: Flat Rock, Michigan
STILL OPEN

FLEMINGTON SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.625 paved
Location: Flemington, New Jersey
Closed: 2002

FLORENCE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.625 dirt, 0.5 dirt^
Location: Union, Kentucky
STILL OPEN

FORT MIAMI FAIRGROUNDS
Length: 1.0 dirt
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Closed: 1957

FORT WAYNE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.625 paved
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Closed: Circa 1966

FREMONT SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.333 dirt
Location: Fremont, Ohio
STILL OPEN

GATEWAY INT’L RACEWAY*
Length: 1.270 paved
Location: East St. Louis, Illinois
STILL OPEN

GOLDEN SANDS SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.333 paved
Location: Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
STILL OPEN

GREAT NEW YORK STATE FAIR
Length: 1.0 dirt
Location: Syracuse, New York
Closed: 2015

GREATER PITTSBURGH SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.333 dirt, 0.333 paved
Location: Clinton, Pennsylvania
Closed: 1970

GREENVILLE-PICKENS SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt, 0.5 paved^
Location: Easley, South Carolina
STILL OPEN

HAGERSTOWN SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Wilson Conococheague, Maryland
STILL OPEN

HATFIELD SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt, 0.375 dirt, 0.375 paved
Location: Hatfield, Pennsylvania
Closed: 1966

HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA
Length: 1.8 road^, 2.1 road^
Location: Topeka, Kansas
STILL OPEN

HEIDELBERG RACEWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Heidelberg, Pennsylvania
Closed: 1973

HUNTSVILLE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 dirt, 0.25 paved^
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
STILL OPEN

ILLIANA SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt, 0.5 paved
Location: Schererville, Illinois
Closed: 2016

ILLINOIS STATE FAIRGROUNDS*
Length; 1.0 dirt
Location: Springfield, Illinois
STILL OPEN

INDIANA STATE FAIRGROUNDS
Length: 1.0 dirt
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
STILL OPEN

INDIANAPOLIS SPEEDROME
Length: 0.2 paved
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
STILL OPEN
Notes: Was called Art Zipp’s Speedway when ARCA stopped by. Holds the Figure-8 World Championships.

IOWA SPEEDWAY*
Length: 0.894 paved
Location: Newton, Iowa
STILL OPEN

I-70 SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.54 paved
Location: Odessa, Missouri
REOPENING IN 2019 AS 0.5 MILE DIRT

I-80 SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.4 dirt
Location: Greenwood, Nebraska
STILL OPEN

I-96 SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt, 0.375 dirt^
Location: Ionia, Michigan
STILL OPEN
Notes: Was called Ionia Speedway when ARCA visited.

JUKASA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.625 paved
Location: Hagersville, Ontario
NEWLY REOPENED
Notes: Once known as Cayuga Motor Speedway. ‘Jukasa’ apparently has some significance to the new owners, who supposedly are business moguls in the cigarette industry.

KALAMAZOO SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 paved
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
STILL OPEN

KANSAS SPEEDWAY*
Length: 1.5 paved
Location: Kansas City, Kansas
STILL OPEN

KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY
Length: 1.5 paved
Location: Sparta, Kentucky
STILL OPEN

KIL-KARE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 paved
Location: Xenia, Ohio
STILL OPEN
Notes: Got its name from an old resort that told people to ‘kill all [their] cares’.

KNOXVILLE RACEWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Knoxville, Iowa
STILL OPEN

KOKOMO SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 dirt
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
STILL OPEN

LAKE ERIE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 paved
Location: North East, Pennsylvania
STILL OPEN

LAKEWOOD SPEEDWAY
Length: 1.0 dirt
Location: Lakewood, Georgia
Closed: 1962 (to all but special events), 1979 (completely)

LANCASTER NATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.625 paved
Location: Lancaster, New York
STILL OPEN

LANGHORNE SPEEDWAY
Length: 1.0 dirt, 1.0 paved
Location: Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Closed: 1971

LANIER NATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 paved
Location: Braselton, Georgia
STILL OPEN
Notes: Across the road from Road Atlanta. Recently reopened.

LAS VEGAS PARK SPEEDWAY
Length: 1.0 dirt
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Closed: Circa 1959

LAWRENCEBURG SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 dirt
Location: Lawrenceburg, Indiana
STILL OPEN

LINCOLN SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt, 0.375 dirt^
Location: Abbotstown, Pennsylvania
STILL OPEN

LONESOME PINE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 paved
Location: Coeburn, Virginia
STILL OPEN

LONGHORN SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location: Pilot Knob, Texas
Closed: 2000

LORAIN COUNTY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.333 dirt, 0.375 paved^
Location: South Amherst, Ohio
STILL OPEN

LOST CREEK SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 dirt
Location: Lost Creek, Kentucky
Closed: Circa 1984

LOUISVILLE DOWNS
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
CLOSED TO CARS, STILL OPEN TO HORSES

LOUISVILLE FAIRGROUNDS
Length: 0.333 paved
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Closed: 1981

LOUISVILLE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.4375 paved, 0.375 paved
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Closed: 2001

LUCAS OIL RACEWAY PARK AT INDIANAPOLIS*
Length: 0.686 paved
Location: Brownsburg, Indiana
STILL OPEN

MADISON SPEEDWAY*
Length: 0.5 paved
Location: Oregon, Wisconsin
STILL OPEN

MANSFIELD MOTORSPORTS SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.4 paved, 0.4 dirt^
Location: Mansfield, Ohio
STILL OPEN

MARLBORO MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.333 paved, 1.7 road
Location: Marlboro, Maryland
Closed: 1969
Notes: I have no idea which layout ARCA ran.

MEADOWDALE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Length: 3.27 road
Location: Carpentersville, Illinois
Closed: 1968

MEMPHIS MOTORSPORTS PARK
Length: 0.75 paved
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
STILL OPEN

MERCER RACEWAY PARK
Length: 0.375 dirt
Location: Findlay, Pennsylvania
STILL OPEN

MEYER SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 paved
Location: Houston, Texas
Closed: 1979

MICHIGAN INT’L SPEEDWAY*
Length: 2.029 paved
Location: Brooklyn, Michigan
STILL OPEN

MICHIGAN STATE FAIRGROUNDS
Length: 1.0 dirt
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Closed: After 1965

MIDDLE GEORGIA RACEWAY
Length: 0.548 paved
Location: Byron, Georgia
Closed: Mid-80s, apparently saw some use until no later than 2004 (STILL USABLE FOR CERTAIN THINGS)

MID OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE
Length: 2.4 road^, 2.25 road^
Location: Lexington, Ohio
STILL OPEN

MILLSTREAM SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Millstream, Ohio
Closed: 2017 (LOOKING TO REOPEN)

MILWAUKEE MILE
Length: 1.029 paved
Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
STILL OPEN

MISSOURI STATE FAIR SPEEDWAY
Length: 1.0 dirt, 0.5 dirt^
Location: Sedalia, Missouri
STILL OPEN

MOBILE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.497 paved
Location: Irvington, Alabama
STILL OPEN
Notes: Will Kimmel famously entered the parking lot here in 2015.

MONROE COUNTY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Monroe, Michigan
Closed: 1954

MONTGOMERY MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt, 0.55 paved^
Location: Montgomery, Alabama
STILL OPEN

MOREHEAD SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.4 dirt
Location: Morehead, Kentucky
Closed: After 1968

MOTOR CITY SPEEDWAY
Length: 1.0 dirt
Location: Warren, Michigan
Closed: 1959

MOUNT CLEMENS SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 dirt, 0.5 paved
Location: Mt. Clemens, Michigan
Closed: 1985

MUSKINGUM COUNTY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 dirt
Location: Zanesville, Ohio
STILL OPEN
Notes: Has had many different layouts, though I couldn’t find enough documentation on them.

NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY
Length: 1.333 paved
Location: Lebanon, Tennessee
TESTING ONLY

NEW BREMEN SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 paved, 0.5 dirt
Location: New Bremen, Ohio
Closed: 1981
Notes: Paved in 1966, returned to dirt in 1979.

NEW JERSEY MOTORSPORTS PARK
Length: 2.25 road
Location: Millville, New Jersey
STILL OPEN

NEWPORT SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.337 paved
Length: Newport, Tennessee
STILL OPEN

NORTHVILLE DOWNS
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Northville, Michigan
CLOSED TO CARS, STILL OPEN TO HORSES

NORTH WILKESBORO SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.625 dirt, 0.625 paved
Location: North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Closed: 2011
Notes: Closed 1996, reopened 2010, closed again 2011.

OAKSHADE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 dirt
Location: Wauseon, Ohio
STILL OPEN

OGLETHORPE RACEWAY PARK
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Pooler, Georgia
STILL OPEN

OHIO STATE FAIRGROUNDS
Length: 1.0 dirt
Location: Columbus, Ohio
CLOSED TO CARS, MIGHT STILL BE USED FOR HORSES

ONA SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.4375 paved
Location: Ona, West Virginia
STILL OPEN
Notes: Once known as International Raceway Park. Closed in 1972, has opened and closed every few years, most recently reopening in 2007.

OWOSSO SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt, 0.375 paved^
Location: Ovid, Michigan
STILL OPEN
Notes: May have had several other lengths over the years.

OZARK EMPIRE FAIRGROUNDS
Length: 0.5 paved
Location: Springfield, Missouri
Closed: Late 80s

PALM BEACH INT’L RACEWAY
Length: 2.043 road
Location: Palm Beach, Florida
STILL OPEN
Notes: Saw ARCA’s only confirmed rain race in 2010.

PAN-AMERICAN SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Closed: 1978

PARAGON SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 dirt
Location: Paragon, Indiana
STILL OPEN

PENNSBORO SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Pennsboro, West Virginia
NEWLY REOPENED
Notes: Once known as Ritchie County Speedway.

PERRY COUNTY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Hazard, Kentucky
Closed: 2004

PIKES PEAK INT’L RACEWAY
Length: 1.0 paved
Location: Pikes Peak, Colorado
STILL OPEN

PINE GROVE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Shippenville, Pennsylvania
Closed: After 1955

POCONO RACEWAY*
Length: 0.75 paved, 2.5 paved^
Location: Long Pond, Pennsylvania
STILL OPEN

PORTSMOUTH SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt?
Location: Portsmouth, Ohio
Closed: After 1962
Notes: Not the same track as Portsmouth Raceway Park, which opened in 1990.

POWELL SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt, 0.5 paved
Location: Powell, Ohio
Closed: 1965

RICHMOND INT’L RACEWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt, 0.542 paved, 0.75 paved^
Location: Richmond, Virginia
STILL OPEN

ROAD AMERICA
Length: 4.048 road
Location: Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
STILL OPEN

ROCKFORD SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.292 paved
Location: Loves Park, Illinois
STILL OPEN

ROCK HILL SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 dirt
Location: Rock Hill, South Carolina
Closed: After 1962

ROCKINGHAM SPEEDWAY
Length: 1.017 paved
Location: Rockingham, North Carolina
CURRENTLY TESTING ONLY

SAGINAW FAIRGROUNDS
Length: 0.625 dirt
Location: Chesaning, Michigan
Closed: Between 1956 and 2010

SAINT LOUIS INT’L RACEWAY
Length: 1.0 road, 2.7 road
Location: East Saint Louis, Illinois
Closed: 1995
Notes: Was demolished to make room for Gateway Int’l Raceway.

SALEM SPEEDWAY*
Length: 0.555 paved
Location: Salem, Indiana
STILL OPEN
Notes: Saw one fatality, Ray Duhigg in 1955.

SANDUSKY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 paved
Location: Sandusky, Ohio
STILL OPEN

SELINSGROVE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Penn Township, Pennsylvania
STILL OPEN

SHADY BOWL SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.3 paved
Location: De Graff, Ohio
STILL OPEN

SHARON SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 dirt
Location: Hartford, Ohio
STILL OPEN
Notes: Named for Sharon, Pennsylvania, but is in Ohio.

SHELBY COUNTY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Length: 0.5 paved?
Location: Lakeland, Tennessee
Closed: After 1972

SOLDIER FIELD
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Closed: 1970 (track) STILL OPEN (stadium)

SOUTH ANTHONY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 paved
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Closed: 1964

SOUTH BEND MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location: South Bend, Indiana
STILL OPEN

SOUTH BOSTON SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.357 paved, 0.4 paved^
Location: South Boston, Virginia
STILL OPEN
Notes: Home track of the Burtons.

SPARTAN SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location: Mason, Michigan
STILL OPEN

SPEEDWAY SALYERSVILLE
Length: 0.333 dirt
Location: Salyersville, Kentucky
Closed: After 1969

SPORTSDROME SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location: Jeffersonville, Indiana
STILL OPEN

STREETS OF DES MOINES
Length: 1.7 street
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Closed: 1994

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY*
Length: 2.66 paved
Location: Talladega, Alabama
STILL OPEN
Notes: Saw four fatalities, Gene Richards in 1982, Ken Kalla in 1983, Tracy Read in 1987, and Chris Gehrke in 1991.

TAMPA FAIRGROUNDS
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Tampa, Florida
Closed: 1971

TAYLOR COUNTY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.375 dirt
Location: Campbellsville, Kentucky
Closed: After 1968

TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Terre Haute, Indiana
STILL OPEN

TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Length: 1.455 paved
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
STILL OPEN

TEXAS WORLD SPEEDWAY
Length: 2.0 paved
Location: College Station, Texas
Closed: 2017

THE GREATER CUMBERLAND RACEWAY
Length: 0.625 dirt
Location: Cumberland, Maryland
STILL OPEN

TOLEDO SPEEDWAY*
Length: 0.5 paved^, 0.2 paved^
Location: Toledo, Ohio
STILL OPEN
Notes: ARCA’s ‘home track’. Saw one fatality, Scott Baker in 2000. Hosts the Glass City 200.

TRENTON SPEEDWAY
Length: 1.0 paved, 1.5 paved
Location: Trenton, New Jersey
Closed: 1980
Notes: Was replaced by a sculpture grounds, probably the best use of the land a track was once on I’ve ever seen.

TRI-COUNTY SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 paved
Location: West Chester, Ohio
Closed: 1987

USA INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Length: 0.75 paved
Location: Lakeland, Florida
Closed: 2008

VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Length: 3.27 road
Location: Danville, Virginia
STILL OPEN
Notes: Closed in 1972, but reopened in 2000.

WATKINS GLEN INT’L
Length: 2.454 road
Location: Watkins Glen, New York
STILL OPEN
Notes: John Finger won ARCA’s only visit to the track in 2001. Everyone on the lead lap crashed, and Finger was the only one to get away from it, meaning he won by a lap.

WEST 16TH STREET SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.25 paved
Location: Speedway, Indiana
Closed: 1958
Notes: Was across the street from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

WEST VIRGINIA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.625 dirt
Location: Mineral Wells, West Virginia
Closed: 2013
Notes: ARCA’s visit to this track in 1997 was the most recent time ARCA has run a dirt track that was not one mile.

WILLIAMS GROVE SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt
Location: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
STILL OPEN

WINCHESTER SPEEDWAY
Length: 0.5 dirt, 0.5 paved^
Location: Winchester, Indiana
STILL OPEN
Notes: Banked at an astronomical 37 degrees. Hosts the Winchester 400.

WISCONSIN INT’L RACEWAY
Length: 0.5 paved
Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin
STILL OPEN

Who Was Scott Mitchell Baker?

Like all sports, motorsports has its gentlemen and its not-so-much’s, its ladies and its unrefined, its kind competitors and its rude individuals, its unphased and its angry, its mature and its childish.

mod
Credit to Pinterest

Even the most passionate and gentle of racers are prone to slipping up. While true sportsmanship is not frequently seen in racing, it does most certainly exist. Case and point, a man possessing a sense of charisma so strong that his local speedway named their sportsmanship award for him, Scott Mitchell Baker.

image_59271
Credit to Rubbin’s Racin’

Scott Mitchell Baker was born on April 30th, 1957 in Chicago, into a family that would eventually have seven children. His father was Ralph Baker, a successful Midwestern racer. Scott graduated from Saugatuck High School in Michigan in 1975 and served in the U.S. Navy for six years before heading back and settling down in Holland, Michigan, where he would stay. He started racing in 1982 and eventually met a lady by the name of Julie. The pair wed and had two children, daughter Brandy and son Scott II.

received_10154637929856919
Credit to Tom DeVette Photography

Baker quickly found local success, mostly at the Berlin Raceway. Berlin is very famous for its bizarre shape and lack of a backstretch wall, and is one of the trickiest short tracks in the country, so this was a feat in and of itself. Baker did race at other tracks besides Berlin, however. He quite famously flew out of the track at Winchester during a late model race in 1986, though he was unhurt. In 1995, Baker won 5 ARCA late model races at Berlin Raceway, something he never flaunted.

received_10154637929866919
Credit to Tom DeVette Photography

Scott moved up to ARCA in 1997 and ran occasional races whenever the series raced near his home. He made his first start at a late season race at Salem. The #7 self-sponsored car came home midfield. Scott ran one more ARCA race in 1997, four in 1998, and in 1999 he ran five. He finished fifth twice, at Winchester in 1997 and the same track in 1998.

After ARCA started in 1953, Berlin was a semi-regular stop on the schedule, holding races every now and again. In between 1969 and 1998, however, they only ran a race at Berlin once (1986). Berlin was included again on the schedule in 1999, and Baker jumped at the opportunity to run his home track. The popular local sat on the pole, led 50 of the 200 laps, and finished in eighth.

Baker was respected both on and off the track for his skill as a metal fabricator, and during the week he used those skills in a metal fabricating business that he ran, Baker Metal Products. Baker was passionate about his business, and always welcomed customers with a charismatic greeting and a smile. It contrasted well with Baker’s fierce and aggressive driving style. Baker often weaved down through corners, trying to force mistakes from unprepared opponents, though he never dumped them.

Baker was going to start his 2000 ARCA season at Salem in the spring, but ended up withdrawing. He made his 12th ARCA start at the Jasper Engines And Transmissions 150 at the half mile Toledo Speedway on June 23rd, 2000, running the #71 Monte Carlo for Arne Henriksen. He started well and ran up front for most of the day, eventually finding himself in eighth. On lap 146/150, owner-driver Joe Cooksey, who a year and a half before had made headlines by hitting the pace car at Daytona, looked for a lane on the inside coming off of turn four and gave a slight bump to Baker, sending Baker across Cooksey’s nose and to the inside of the circuit.

Toledo Speedway contains a 1/5th mile short oval on its frontstretch, and during ARCA events, the short oval was used as the pit lane. For this event, ARCA had the Toledo Speedway set up a tire wall to protect the pit crew.

Screenshot_2017-03-15-12-30-59
Screencap of the 1994 ASA Toledo race; The tires are likely the ones placed furthest to the inside

 

Baker struck two earth mover tires with his passenger door at about 120mph, sending the tires, both of which weighed hundreds of pounds, flying into the pit lane and forcing everyone to scatter about. One of the tires struck and severely damaged a team’s pit box, but no one in the pit lane was hurt. The car itself decelerated on the spot, teetering on two wheels before coming back down.

The race was red flagged while safety crews extricated Baker, and with so few laps left, officials decided that there was no need to continue the race with a driver in need of urgent medical care. The race was ended a few laps early, with Frank Kimmel being declared the winner. Ultimately, the 43-year-old Baker would be pronounced dead shortly after arrival to the hospital. The severe horizontal deceleration had caused vital arteries in his brain to stretch and become damaged. The Toledo Speedway and ARCA both responded with their condolences, and a permanent pit lane was set up at the Toledo Speedway for future events.

 

Oddly, one of Toledo’s most popular local drivers is also named Scott Baker. The Ohioan Scott Baker, who won the Iceman Championship in 1999, is even around the same age as his fallen Michigan counterpart. The Ohioan Scott Baker is mostly retired as of 2017, running the select event here and there and managing a race car parts supply store.

ARCA stopped by Berlin a few weeks later, and Tim Steele won the race. Tim immediately donated all of his earnings that night to the family of Scott Mitchell Baker in a tribute to Scott’s sportsmanship, and the Berlin Raceway has since named their sportsmanship award for Scott. Ralph Baker, who was part of Scott’s pit crew on June 23rd, 2000, is still a somewhat frequent face at the Berlin Raceway despite pushing 90, and Julie Baker took over Baker Metal Parts, still running it to this day. Berlin Raceway lost its ARCA date after 2016, but the oddly-shaped 0.4375 mile oval in the Grand Rapids suburb of Marne, Michigan kept busy with a NASCAR K&N East race in 2017 and will see the return of ARCA in 2018.

Scott Mitchell Baker’s sportsmanship was admirable, and his driving style reflected his kindness. Hopefully the drivers who faced off against him were able to realize that fair and clean racing, not rough driving, is what earns a driver respect, and they were able to adjust their driving styles accordingly.

 

Sources:

Info received from Berlin Raceway’s social media team

“Scott Baker final arrangements”, June 26th, 2000 article on motorsport.com

Scott Mitchell Baker’s page on Findagrave.com

“Scott Baker – stock car racer”, June 27th, 2000 post to Google Groups by Jerry and Bea

“ARCA: Berlin race report”, July 16th, 2000 post to Google Groups by motorsport.com

Withheld Racing Footage

Racing is a dangerous sport, and sometimes the footage of certain incidents have been withheld from the public due to just how horrible they were. These are all of the examples that I am personally aware of or have every reason to believe exists.

1985: The Atlanta ARCA 500k (BROADCAST)

Apparently, the USA Network was planning on showing an ARCA race at the Atlanta International Raceway in June 1985 on tape delay, but this had to be aborted after a massive accident claimed the life of a driver. It was promoted as a fairly prestigious event, with a rather high purse and a figurehead grand marshal in NASCAR founder Bill France.

On lap 32, New Zealander Stuart Lyndon went around off of turn two at full speed and slammed into the inside earth wall with ungodly force. Steel and concrete barriers have some give, especially steel, and cars will often bounce off of them as needed. Steel and concrete barriers can also be shoved back a few centimeters or even break if the impacts are especially hard. Well packed dirt has absolutely no ‘give’. When cars strike earth walls, they either come to a complete stop or vault over the top of the earth wall, depending on its angle. In Lyndon’s case, the impact was so brutal that the roll cage completely shattered and Lyndon was thrown through the windshield. He was dead at the scene. The race continued and was won by Davey Allison, but the broadcast, if it was actually going to occur in the first place, was called off.

EXISTENCE: LIKELY

1990: The ARCA 200 (BROADCAST)

ESPN was planning on showing the 1990 ARCA 200 on tape delay, but decided not to after a vicious crash late.

A multicar pileup struck in turn four with about five laps to go, sending many cars into the wall, the car of Slick Johnson hitting it especially hard. Several medics ran over to the drivers involved in the crash, wanting to see what assistance they could give.

Bob Keselowski, father of 2012 NASCAR Cup champion Brad, was driving by the accident when his car snapped left and he spun down the banking. Bob’s car hit that of Kevin Gundaker, knocking Gundaker’s car into Mike Staley, the paramedic assisting Gundaker at the time. The race was not ended, per se, but it did not go back to green flag conditions. The field was paced around under caution for the rest of regulation distance and Jimmy Horton crossed the line in first.

Staley made a near-full recovery. He wasn’t able to return to being a paramedic, but was last seen giving motivational speeches. Slick Johnson, a short track expert whose real first name was Julius, suffered severe head injuries in the crash, and he did not survive. Johnson died three days later, aged 41.

A few years later, Rescue 911 asked ESPN if they could use the crash footage for a segment on Mike Staley’s survival. Their request was accepted, and the footage is readily available online. However, the broadcast itself has never been shown, likely due to the Staley collision.

EXISTENCE: CONFIRMED

1991: The Fatal Crash Of Paul Warwick

Paul Warwick’s older brother Derek had already made it to Formula One, and Paul was looking to do the same. He’d absolutely destroyed the field in the first few British F3000 Series races in 1991, and was looking to do the same at Oulton Park. However, late in the going, something went on Paul’s car and he crashed at the incredibly fast Knickerbrook corner. Paul was ejected from the vehicle and died almost instantly.

motor-racing-driver-paul-warwick-crash-which-d80mf21
The only known photo of the Warwick crash; Credit to Alamy

Being as it was 1991, anyone who wanted to film for memory’s sake had to lug around a large camcorder. Police forcefully collected and confiscated all the spectator footage they could, and turned it over to the Warwick family. The one photo above is the only known photo ever released of the accident.

The race was ended on the spot, and Paul was declared the winner, as he had been leading at the time. Paul Warwick had been so dominant in the season and had built up such a points lead that he, despite missing half the races, was eventually declared champion – posthumously.

EXISTENCE: CONFIRMED

1995: The 1995 Sportsman 100 (BROADCAST)

Russell Phillips raced in a Sportsman Series that existed in the early to mid 1990s, and during a race at Charlotte in 1995, the ironically squeamish Phillips was killed in what’s often considered the worst crash seen in NASCAR’s history.

In short, contact between him and another car, that of Steven Howard, sent Phillips roof-first into the fence. The roof was completely sheared away, and Phillips was savagely dismembered. The race continued after a cleanup, and the second race (it was a doubleheader) was also held. The race Russell was killed during, known simply as the Sportsman 100, was won by Gary Laton, and the second race, the Duron Paints And Wallcoverings 100, was won by Lester Lesneski.

Footage of the accident does exist, and it’s widely available. However, the Sportsman Series races were often recorded to be shown on tape delay, and this race was no exception. The broadcast of the race was never shown out of decency, nor was the much-calmer second race of the doubleheader the next day. Whether the broadcast was immediately aborted or continued and scrapped later is unknown. The Sportsman Series was ridden of after 1995, though it did run a few short tracks in 1996 with small fields and even smaller interest.

EXISTENCE: CONFIRMED

1995: The Fatal Crash Of Russell Phillips (AFTERMATH)

The aftermath footage of Russell’s fatal crash and the cleanup has also never been released with the exception of one very brief clip of the catchfence being cleaned.

Again, the race continued on after the accident. Winner’s ceremonies were not cancelled after the accident, and during his interview, Gary Laton did not address Phillips’ crash, nor was he asked about it. The Sportsman Series, which used old Cup and Busch cars with massive speed reductions, showed the flaws with the day’s cars. Over the course of 45 races, a dozen drivers had been severely injured, and three were dead. The only reason this hadn’t all happened in Cup was driver experience. After this and Dale Earnhardt’s horrific crash in 1996 at Talladega, the Earnhardt Bar was implemented as an extra roof support.

EXISTENCE: VERY LIKELY

1996: The Fatal Crash Of Elmer Trett

On August 31st, 1996, Blaine Johnson, the NHRA Top Fuel Dragster points leader, ran the length of the quarter mile dragstrip at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 4.612 seconds, a track record. Immediately after crossing the line, something broke on the dragster and it shifted to the left. Johnson tried to save it, but the vehicle angled over to the right while still skidding left. The dragster struck an opening in the wall, and unfortunately, it struck the wall right where the cockpit was. Johnson, 32, passed during surgery later that day. Footage of this DOES exist.

The next day, September 1st, 53-year-old Elmer Trett, a veteran of motorcycle drag racing, fell off his bike at 230mph and slid into the sand trap at the end of the strip. There wasn’t much anyone could do for Trett, who was reportedly almost disfigured by the somersaults his body did when it hit the sand trap. Exactly one replay of the accident was shown on the track’s big screen, and after that, the crash was never shown again in any context.

In 2013, drag bike racer Chris Matheson fell from his bike at about the same speed of 230mph. He was lucky enough to escape with little more than severe bruising and a broken foot. Footage of his spill is readily available, and witnesses say that Matheson’s crash was very similar to how Trett’s started.

EXISTENCE: ALMOST CERTAIN

1997: The Fatal Crash Of Sebastien Enjolras

21-year-old rising talent Sebastien Enjolras was killed in early May of 1997 when his Peugeot WR97 open top prototype lost something and spun out of control during a pre-qualifying practice session for that year’s running of the 24 Hours Of Le Mans. The vehicle blew over and passed so low over the wall that Sebastien was brutally guillotined, then rolled several times into oblivion. It was one of the most violent crashes in Le Mans history. Organizers responded by immediately banning one-piece bodywork cars such as the WR97 he had been running.

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Credit to The Fastlane

Footage of the accident exists, as pre-qualifying practice was normally filmed, and sits in the hands of Peugeot, ACO, and the Enjolras family. Very few details have been revealed of what it contains, but it apparently shows what happened to Enjolras in disturbingly high quality.

EXISTENCE: CONFIRMED

1999: The Fatal Crash Of Neil Shanahan

On May 31, 1999, Neil Shanahan, a promising 19-year-old driver from Ireland, crashed into a barrier during a three car accident on lap two of the British Formula Ford Zetec Championship. The crash occurred at Clay Hill, a medium speed corner off of Knickerbrook, so while it was a massive hit, it apparently was not one most people would have expected to actually kill Neil. However, it did, and Neil died on the way to the hospital from massive head injuries. Oulton Park was heavily criticized for lack of proper safety features after the accident.

Neil’s parents were given the footage that was taken of his crash. They explained that they wished to understand exactly what happened. Very little mention of the footage has been made since, though at least one forum post noted that unlike with the crash of Paul Warwick, police did not forcefully seize the footage of Shanahan’s crash.

EXISTENCE: VERY LIKELY

1999: The Wild Crash Of Peter Dumbreck (ONBOARD)

Ah, the Mercedes-Benz CLR…this aerodynamically unsound car suffered its third front flip of the 1999 24 Hours Of Le Mans weekend when Peter Dumbreck lifted off during the race. Despite amount of times Dumbreck`s incredible ride was replayed during the slowdown period, they did not show the onboard shot of Dumbreck.

Interestingly, Peter Dumbreck`s Mercedes-Benz CLR actually did have an onboard camera. In fact, they had done a whole onboard lap at one point in the broadcast. However, its capturing of the accident was never shown. It ‘s possible that the high ups at Mercedes, having seen the crash, immediately phoned up the broadcasting team and ordered them not to use the onboard shot. While Dumbreck escaped from the wreckage with few injuries, the onboard shot of his wild cartwheel has never been shown. Mercedes-Benz withdrew from Le Mans yet again, having done so for the first time in 1955 after driver Pierre Levegh’s car crashed into the crowd and killed upwards of 80 people, and has yet to return as of 2017.

EXISTENCE: ALMOST CERTAIN

2002: The Irwindale 150 (BROADCAST)

Despite being promoted as an ultra-safe track, Irwindale Event Center was a death palace in its early days, having suffered a fatality on opening night in 1999, a second death later that year, and a third in late 2001. It took a fourth fatality in 2002 for track owners to actually do something.

On lap 37 of the 150 lap NASCAR Southwest race on June 8, 2002, contact between John Baker and Sean Woodside in turn two sent Baker’s car glancing off of Greg Voigt’s and straight up the track and head-on into a gate, dealing Baker fatal injuries. The race was briefly red flagged, but it eventually went on. The victory went to a young David Gilliland. The race was going to be broadcasted on tape delay a couple of days later, but the broadcast was never shown. The Goody’s Dash race at Daytona from that February was shown instead. Irwindale cancelled the next weekend’s events and sealed off the gate that Baker had struck among other track alterations, never giving much of a reason as to why.

EXISTENCE: CONFIRMED

2003: The Fatal Crash Of Tony Renna

On October 22nd, 2003, the Indy Racing League held a test session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for its tires. During this session, Tony Renna, who had only just signed with Chip Ganassi as the teammate of future Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon, went around in turn three at 230mph. The car then struck the catchfence with its underside, instantly killing Renna from massive internal trauma. The accident was captured on a security camera in turn three.

Speculation is all over the place when it comes to Renna’s accident, due to how little is known about it. However, if all eyewitness reports of the crash are correct, then Renna’s crash is the most gruesome accident in motorsport history.

After the investigation concluded, Tony George sealed the tapes in the vault under the speedway. Apparently, George went out of his way to make sure no footage of Renna’s death was made public, even seizing the security tapes of a gas station across the street which had captured smoke rising. There are a few aftermath images showing track workers repairing the damaged catchfence sometime later, some of which show damage to the unoccupied bleachers, but the video of the crash itself will likely never be released.

EXISTENCE: CONFIRMED

2004: The Death Of Roy Weaver

The Goody’s Dash Series found new life as the iPower Dash Series in 2004, and planned a schedule of short tracks and speedways, with the traditional one superspeedway race at Daytona. On lap 9 of the Daytona race, Billy Clevenger spun in turn four and was slammed by Tony Billings, severely injuring Billings, who would be in the hospital for some time.

On lap 19, the race was still under caution for whatever reason. Roy Weaver III, a track worker, spotted some debris and asked his companions on the truck to park it to the low side. This was a violation, as the track workers’ trucks are supposed to be on the high side as a reference, not the low side where they can’t be seen. Roy also failed to radio in to officials that he had found debris, in which case they would have told the teams and drivers would have been on the lookout.

During the caution, Ray Paprota, the nation’s first known paraplegic to race in a national stock car tour, pulled out of the garage. He’d failed to start due to a faulty battery, but since the race wasn’t red flagged, the crew could work on the car. Eventually, they changed the battery and he pulled out. Ray did one wave-around lap and got ready to join up with the field on the backstretch when, in turn two, he came across Roy.

The ensuing collision instantly killed Roy Weaver. Ray, shaken but still hoping he’d missed Roy, drove back to the pits, and the rest of the field soon followed.

The race was eventually resumed, with Danny Bagwell taking the win. Footage of the collision way caught by CCTV cameras and a mounted wall camera in turn two, but Daytona turned the footage over to the police for their investigation, possibly wishing to prevent the heavy criticism they received after Dale Earnhardt’s death, where the footage went to the media first. Police eventually placed full blame on the track crew.

The iPower Dash Series was done in by the story’s sensationalism (Ray, who later returned to legend cars and has since retired, was blameless, but when the media heard that Ray was a paraplegic, they went wild), and was handed off to the ASA, who let the series waste away before putting it out of its misery in 2011.

EXISTENCE: CONFIRMED

2008: The Massive Crash Of Jeff Gordon (INSIDE)

During the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas in 2008, Jeff Gordon crashed into an entrance gate while trying to avoid a spinning Matt Kenseth. It was the hardest hit of his career, but due to NASCAR’s many safety upgrades across the years, Gordon was able to – gingerly – walk away.

In the accident, Gordon had three onboard cameras, one on the car’s front, one on the car’s rear, and one inside the car facing towards Gordon. The broadcast crew showed the impact from several external angles and from the car’s front and rear, but never showed the impact from inside. They did show the aftermath from inside the car, as Gordon collected his thoughts and unbuckled, but not the impact itself, apparently because Gordon’s body moved in a way during the crash that the crew found disturbing.

A few days later, Jeff asked to see the recording of the crash from inside the car. That was the last mention ever made of the tape.

EXISTENCE: CONFIRMED

2011: The Fatal Crash Of Dan Wheldon (ONBOARD)

Dan Wheldon himself died in a somewhat similar accident to Tony Renna in 2011 at the IndyCar World Championships at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dan actually had the onboard camera that day, which ABC switched away from when Wade Cunningham and J.R. Hildebrand made contact to start the tragic mayhem.

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Credit to CBSNews; Wheldon is the lefthand airborne car, and the other rolling car is Pippa Mann

Dan attempted to navigate the 15-car pileup, but was unable to. He struck Ernesto Viso’s car and flew into the catchfence. Dan struck his head on a catchfence support beam, killing him. The race was cancelled after the crash, though the drivers still in the race agreed to a five lap tribute to Wheldon, during which Amazing Grace was played over the PA system and the attendees at the speedway stayed respectfully silent.

The full onboard footage is known to exist. In fact, some fans actually viewed it as it happened, as an onboard livestream was being shown on Indycar Mobile for Verizon subscribers only. It hasn’t been shown since, and has never been leaked. A Canadian group requested to use some of the withheld footage for a documentary on the leadup to the IndyCar World Championships and the death of Dan Wheldon, and was granted permission. During the broadcast, the onboard had ended when the accident had begun. The documentary shows up to the impact with Viso, at which point it freezes.

EXISTENCE: CONFIRMED

2013: The Fatal Crash Of Jason Leffler

In 2013, popular NASCAR driver Jason Leffler, who had given Toyota its first NASCAR victory when he won an Xfinity race at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 2007, was running a sprint car race at the Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey when he struck the turn four wall very hard. The red flag was waved, and the field stopped immediately, as New Jersey rules require drivers to stop where they are when a red flag flies, even if the position they stop in is inconvenient. Leffler was wearing a restraint to help protect him from being injured by frontal impacts, but did not have one to assist with side-on impacts. This crash was the latter. Medics rushed Leffler to the hospital, but he was beyond saving. Racing was called off for the rest of the weekend.

No footage is available of the impact itself. One spectator’s video ends a lap before the impact, and several aftermath shots are available. It appears that everyone who recorded the footage chose to either give it to the authorities or withhold it.

New Jersey now requires full restraints for all racing in the state.

EXISTENCE: CONFIRMED