What Made Saturday’s ‘Big One’ Significant
Nashville, TN (Wednesday, September 16, 2020) – During Saturday night’s Pro Late Model portion of Local Racing at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, one of the biggest crashes of the 2020 season across the county unfolded just 13 laps into the 100 lap main event. While no drivers were injured in the incident, there were many things that will keep the multicar pileup at the forefront of numerous people’s minds.
The race was one you would expect to see at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, with plenty of close racing, hard-driving, and battle for position all over the race track. Something about the ‘feel’ of this race was a little different though, as the final feature of the night following and extended rain delay earlier in the afternoon. The entire tone of the first half of the race may have been set when the field came around to complete lap number one, and the leaders – rookie Hunter Wright and points leader at the time Dylan Fetcho – slammed doors at the finish line. While that battle was able to continue without further incident, races furth back in the pack would not be so fortunate.
Exiting turn two on the 13th lap of the race, apparent contact was made which sent Billy Sisco spinning in his number 16. Then, Dylan Jones’ number 41 tried to avoid, sending him toward the outside wall; in the process, he collected Micheal House’s number 1 machine, three other drivers were also collected. Mike Murray, Bennie Hamlett and Garrett Dies became the next immediate victims of the incident, filing into the crash in a straight line.
Murray became the car with the most attention in a hurry as he slammed the back of House’s car in a way that sent him up on top of House and Jones. After which, Hamlett and Dies stuffed their machines under Murray and subsequently into House and Jones as well. As the cars came to a stop,fans and officials alike wondered just how bad the crash was.
“I’ve seen a lot of scary wrecks in 40 seasons at Nashville,” remarked announcer Joe Williams. “But only three or four really had me worried. Saturday night, with two cars on top of two more, so many things can go wrong so quickly,” Williams said.
In stepped the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Safety Team to do what they are prepared to do at a moment’s notice. In just a matter of seconds from the time the caution was displayed, Safety 1 was on the scene ensuring that all drivers involved were unharmed. From there, it became about cleaning up the mess in a safe and timely manner so that racing could resume.
NFS Safety Director, Jake Steele said that everything played out exactly how it was supposed to. “The wreck presented several challenges for our team, but we were able to respond and resolve them without further issues,” remarked Steele. “Overall, the entire scene was handled just the way we train for – from communications and resources made available, to removing the cars without causing further damage,” Steele finished.
Williams says the performance from the Safety Team on Saturday was unmatched, and he isn’t the only one who was impressed. “We witnessed one of the greatest performances by a safety crew at Nashville,” offered Williams. “In a 30-minute red flag, the crew moved five cars from on top of each other, made sure every driver walked away and got us a clean track to race on,” Williams said.
Murray, recalls the incident remarking how quickly the Safety Team responded. “By the time my spotter asked me if I was okay, there was someone in my window,” Murray says. “Those guys need to be acknowledged for that. That could have been a really bad situation had we had just one fuel line or fuel system rupture,” finished Murray.
Despite the damage, Murray says he does plan to be back at the track on October 3rd, the next night of racing at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway presented by Ford Lincoln of Franklin. Tickets are available online at www.nashvillefairgroundsspeedway.racing or by calling the Box Office at (615) 254-1986. Search Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on Facebook and follow on Twitter @RaceFairgrounds.
Story by – Zach Hiser, Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway
Photos – Paradigm Multimedia Marketing, Middle Tennessee Racing News