Local dirt track racer reacts to track tragedy

Local dirt track racer reacts to track tragedy

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A fatal wreck on a dirt track in New York shed light on dirt track racing nationwide.

Here in Region 8, racing is commonplace and often a family affair. There are numerous racetracks in Northeast Arkansas and one local driver we spoke to says he hopes this not only educates people outside the racing world but those in it as well.

"Every car our there wants to win, they've worked there all week long, they've spent...a lot of people spend every dime they've got just to get there," Jeremy Russell told Region 8 News.

Russell has been racing since he was 17-years-old. He got into the sport as he said his grandpa, father and uncles raced.

Now, Russell races for KEG1 Motorsports. He told Region 8 News that not every bump on the track results in a wreck.

"A lot of times you'll race and not get any," Russell said "Like this right here, this is just from people rubbing tires," Russell said pointing to part of his racecar.

Russell explained that when you factor in numerous cars and high rates of speed, wrecks do happen and tempers can flare.

"I've seen people jump on cars and stuff turn dangerous really quick but then I've seen stuff where you think people should've got mad and they don't even...nothing ever happens," Russell said.

However when temper turns into tragedy, it serves as an eye opener for all.

"That deal there was a bad situation," Russell said. "It was a freak accident."

Russell said when he heard Ward was hit and killed by Stewart, he and his friends in the racing community automatically began thinking and praying for the families of those involved, the fans who witnessed the wreck and Stewart himself.

"It's gonna be a big healing process for everyone."

While he hopes this tragedy has drivers thinking twice before letting their emotions get the better of them, he wants those outside the racing world know this isn't what it's all about.

"There's a lot of phone calls on Sundays saying 'man, I didn't mean to say that' or 'I didn't mean to get aggravated,'" Russell explained. "Tempers get up but at the end of the night, most everybody is willing to help everybody out."

Officials are still investigating the fatal wreck in New York. They do not believe any criminal behavior or conduct led to the crash.

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