A 42-year-old man fatally shot himself last night following an argument with other race fans at Texas Motor Speedway according to police and the Tarrant County (Tex.) medical examiner’s office.
According to the Associated Press, the medical examiner’s office said earlier today that the death of Saginaw, Texas resident Kirk Franklin — who was pronounced dead at 10:48 p.m. local time on Saturday night via a gunshot wound to the head — was a suicide. Fort Worth Police Department spokeswoman Tracey Knight told the AP that the incident that took Franklin’s life occurred during the late stages of the NRA 500 Sprint Cup race and that alcohol may have been a factor.
Anthony Andro of FoxSportsSouthwest.com has relayed word from the FWPD’s incident report that Franklin’s body was found in the back seat of a truck inside the track’s infield campgrounds. He also reports that track officials had no comment about the incident on Sunday.
Weapons and firearms are among the list of items that guests are banned from bringing inside Texas Motor Speedway.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.