That was much too fast.
The WAR Sprint Series pulled out of their remaining two races at the Missouri State Fair Speedway, including a race scheduled for June 17, citing car safety reasons.
WAR series owner Casey Shuman said in a release the decision to cancel their appearances was mutual. The release mentioned a “scary” accident at a May 20 race in Sedalia involving 22-year-old rookie driver, Chris Desselle.
Desselle was escorted by helicopter to a hospital for an overnight stay after the wreck.
“I have been a racer my entire a career until this year,” Shuman said. “Making the leap from that position to a series owner has been a huge learning experience. I want to make sure that my guys are as safe as possible. Any decision I make, I try to think about my members first. With that said, we have come to a mutual decision with the Race Organizer at the Missouri State Fair Speedway to cancel the remaining two events scheduled at Sedalia this season.”
Shuman said Gerry Olson, the promoter for the track’s races this summer, approached him last week about canceling their next races.
“He made a phone call and asked what I thought,” Shuman said. “What I thought about the incident and about our cars being there in general. To me, he was kind of leaning towards ‘let’s cancel,’”
Olson said he and Shuman agreed that driver safety was “paramount.”
“He and I mutually agreed that, being in this field for many years, the level of speed at Sedalia versus the experience level that these guys have … and then the accident itself, we’re not out here to promote in the racing business that we put drivers in a more dangerous situation than they need to be in. Understand that these guys are family guys who are racing for fun, and safety is paramount. And that’s what we agreed with.
“Why do we want to push the envelope for guys who are weekend racers, to put them in a higher level of danger, for the sake of having a race?”
Shuman said the accident isn’t the whole reason WAR canceled their races. He also emphasized a suggested equipment improvement for the WAR series vehicles. The series is strongly recommending a tether on the front axle of their competitor’s cars to prevent equipment or foliage flying into the grandstand.
“The accident isn’t 100 percent the reason we’re not going back,” Shuman said. “I raced for the last 20-25 years. I know stuff like that happens. I realize that stuff can happen no matter what. But our guys, most of them are working for a living and racing for fun. They don’t need to be getting hurt. That’s part of it. Trying to make a decision for what’s best for our guys.”
Shuman said that Desselle is alright, and was even “a little bummed” that the series isn’t returning to Sedalia.
“He said he hopes that just because of his wreck isn’t why we’re not going,” Shuman said. “He was all for going back. He was all for having a car together and being at the next one.”
The 360 Winged Sprints and ASCS series will still race June 17. The starting time for the event has moved from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2