Motorsports

Saturday, Aug 10 2013 09:21 PM

Track official seriously injured in crash at Bakersfield Speedway

BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer mgriffith@bakersfield.com

Track official Steve O'Neil was seriously injured Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway during the American Stock main event.

O'Neil was standing along the inside crash wall along the backstretch when a car driven by Mike Hill Jr., got turned sideways far behind the leaders, then crashed into the wall with the left-side tires riding up and over. The car hit O'Neil, who was standing next the the front of a tow truck and knocked him back.

O'Neil landed on the ground several feet behind the tow truck and Hill's car came to a halt atop the wall another 40 feet down the track.

The track safety crew, as well as ambulance workers, rushed to O'Neil's aid immediately and worked on him for more than 10 minutes before he was placed on a backboard.

A person on the scene said O'Neil was unconscious, but was breathing and had a pulse as they worked to stabilize him.

Another ambulance arrived at that time and O'Neil was placed in the vehicle and was worked on for another 15 minutes before leaving the track for Kern Medical Center.

An official at KMC confirmed that O'Neil was being attended to in the emergency room, but no further information would be provided.

A solemn silence fell over the third-mile clay oval as O'Neil was attended to, and it stayed quiet for another 15 minutes as officials met with racers in the pits where it was decided to go on with the racing.

A prayer for O'Neil was said over the public address system before racing resumed.

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