PEORIA - The news about stock-car racer Tony Stewart hitting and killing a fellow driver on Saturday has everyone talking.
Twenty-year old Kevin War Junior left his car to yell at Stewart following a small accident. But was so far out on the track he was hit.
Now people want to know who was in the wrong and how we can make races safer.
We talked to the co-owner of the Peoria Speedway as well as a local driver. They say what happened between Stewart and Ward at the sprint race in upstate New York is all too common.
There are few feelings that compare to speeding around the bend in a high-speed stock car race.
“There’s a lot of adrenaline when they’re racing,” says Co-Owner of Peoria Speedway Jason Plumer. “They can’t shut that off like an on and off switch.”
Jason Plumer is the co-owner of the Peoria Speedway, a track similar to the one in upstate New York. He says sometimes that emotion can spill over on the race track.
“It's not uncommon for someone to get out and show their displeasure. Is it against the rules? Yes. Do we try to make it not happen? Yes.”
Plumer says the meet with the drivers before every race and go over the rules. That includes not getting out of the car.
“The visibility of a sprint car is very limited,” says Plume, adding to the danger of the races.
If there is an accident, yellow flashers come on and every driver knows to slow down and be careful.
But on a dirt track that’s not always easy to do.
And in the case of the race in New York, the track was pretty rough after multiple races.
“It was probably shiny and slick. And to the driver that's like driving on ice,” says Plumer.
Which is why local driver, Michael Benet, says he and his fellow racers believer Ward Jr. was in the wrong.
“ We all have the same opinion. The kid, uh, even being a rookie champion in 2012, should have known better,” said Benet.
Benet has been racing for nearly 30 years and teaches young stock-car drivers in Mossville.
His training program is called Street Survival
“I will tell them there is no safer place to be than inside the car and to use that as your safety capsule just like he should have,” says Benet
Plumer is thinking about not giving drivers their race pay as punishment if they get out of their cars.
He believes this could help prevent tragedy from happening on the Peoria Speedway.
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