Talladega race fan dies of carbon monoxide poisoning; wife hospitalized

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According to authorities in Talladega County, Alabama, a carbon monoxide leak took the life of a man who was camping at Talladega Superspeedway during this weekend’s NASCAR events.

The man has since been identified as 46-year-old Craig Franklin Morgan of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Friends found both Morgan and his wife, Jami Allison Morgan, unresponsive inside their motor home Saturday afternoon at Talladega.

Fox Sports’ Tom Jensen reports that according to a spokesperson at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Mrs. Morgan remains unconscious and in critical condition there.

An Associated Press report from yesterday states that Deputy Coroner Larry Seals said the couple were likely using a gas stove for heat, and that there was a problem with the generator’s exhaust system.

This marks the second time this year a fan has died while camping out near the 2.66-mile track. Nicholas Bower, 28, of Villa Rica, Ga., disappeared on the stormy night of Sat., May 4 from a nearby campground, and after a 10-day search, his body was found in a creek about 1.5 miles from the facility.

Bower’s death was eventually ruled as an accidental drowning.

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.