Flagman struck, killed by race truck at Florida short track

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A flagman officiating a race at Bronson Speedway in Archer, Fla., was killed in a racing accident at the track this past Sunday.

According to the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, veteran track official and flagman Buddy Jack Howell, Jr., was killed after being struck by a race truck that had gone out of control, according to Levy County sheriff’s investigators.

Howell, 49, was a resident of Bradenton, Fla. Paramedics attempted to revive him both at the track and en route to University of Florida Health Shands Hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival, according to Lt. Scott Tummond, a Levy County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

Tummond said there was no foul play in the incident at the track, which bills itself as “Florida’s Premier High Bank Short Track.” The track is located about 15 miles southwest of Gainesville.

“It’s a tragic accident,” Tummond told the Sun. “This wasn’t a race with high speeds.”

Veteran race competitor J.W. McNeal of Jonesville, Fla., recalled Howell as someone who loved racing and worked at a number of different small tracks across the Southeast.

“I think this is going to make everyone reflect on what racing is all about,” McNeal said. “The one thing Bud would not want is for us to stop racing.

“It’s not uncommon to see the same guy in the flag stand hanging out in the pits or in the field. Bud could do anything.”

Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy had spent Saturday night at the track with his daughter, who is interested in racing.

“(Howell) even let her climb up in the flag stand and taught her how to wave the flags,” Braddy told the Sun. “He was eager to teach his knowledge about the sport. I took it pretty hard.”

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IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.