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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Will Power nips Jack Harvey at finish to pace Road America practice

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Will Power led the only IndyCar Road America practice of the weekend Saturday, shooting to the top of the chart on his 22nd and final lap of the session at 1 minute, 46.0021 seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Dixon knocked Jack Harvey’s No. 60 Dallara-Honda from the top spot (which would have marked the first time that a Meyer-Shank Racing car led practice).

Josef Newgarden, Power’s Team Penske teammate, was third, followed by Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay (who went off course late in the session but sustained no damage).

Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal, defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top 10 in the practice that preceded a Saturday-Sunday race weekend doubleheader for IndyCar at Road America.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Click here to see who was fastest in the session

RACE INFORMATION: What you need to know for today’s REV Group Grand Prix

RATED ROOKIE: Rinus VeeKay rebounding well from a tough debut

IndyCar tested some new cooling devices with cars from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. Several drivers have said the cockpit heat caused by the new aeroscreen was stifling during last week’s GMR Grand Prix, and IndyCar repositioned drink bottles this weekend to keep liquids cool. The pieces tried by IndyCar during the Road America practice won’t be available during the races Saturday and Sunday at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course.

Scott Dixon, who is seeking to open the season with his third consecutive IndyCar victory, was 15th fastest in the 75-minute session. Other notables in Road America practice: Marco Andretti (12th), Simon Pagenaud (19th).

Power is aiming for his second consecutive pole position after qualifying first last week on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Qualifying for the REV Group Grand Prix Race #1 will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET (NBCSNNBC Sports Gold).

The broadcast of the IndyCar race at Road America will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.