Racing at Dixie halted by crash
by Emily Horos
August 28, 2013 01:10 AM | 2371 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Racing at Dixie Speedway came to a sudden halt Saturday night, during the second lap of the Crate Late Model championship.

Steve Schofield’s car hit the wall on the back straightaway and spun across the track before coming to rest near pit row. While bouncing back across the track, Schofield’s car was struck by Joey Armistead, and both drivers were injured in the wreck.

Rescue workers on site needed the Jaws of Life to extract Schofield from his car before he was transported by helicopter to WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta.

According to information released by Schofield’s family, he suffered broken bones in both ankles and wrists. As of Tuesday morning, Schofield remained in intensive care at the hospital, and he temporarily needed a respirator when he stopped breathing. A plate has been placed in both arms, and his right ankle will require reconstructive surgery.

Still, doctors expect Schofield to make a full recovery.

Armistead, a teenager who is also on his high school’s track team, suffered a broken foot.

Track spokeswoman Mia Swims-Green said it was a scary moment for those at the track.

“It was the first time in the history of the speedway that we had somebody life-flighted out,” Swims-Green said. “It was a scary moment for everyone there — fans, staff. It was just really scary.”

Because of insurance regulations, Dixie is required to have a safety expert on staff. Safety director Tim Crossland, a volunteer firefighter in the Hickory Flat area of Cherokee County, made the decision to call for the helicopter.

“He made the call to be on the safe side,” Swims-Green said. “They seemed to think (Schofield) may have had broken ribs possible. We didn’t want to take a chance of internal injuries. (Crossland) opted to be on the safe side and we put full trust in his knowledge and his decision.”

When safety crews relayed to track officials the severity of Schofield’s injuries, Swims-Green said it was clear that racing would not resume. With two classes left on the schedule, Dixie announced to fans that racing would be suspended for the night.

Even as fans were told that racing was over, many remained until after Schofield was transported from the track.

“I think the fans were so moved by what was going on that, even when we told them that the event was over and we wouldn’t be able to complete the race, half the grandstands stayed,” Swims-Green said. “They just stood and waited and watched and were waiting to hear.

“As soon as we knew that a helicopter was coming in, we knew that everyone would be alarmed, so we announced that it was for precautionary reasons. We kept everybody up-to-date. It was a very somber moment when we didn’t know what was going on.”

The remainder of the Crate Late Model championship will be held this weekend. The race will resume on the second lap, with entries for the event fixed.

Before Schofield’s wreck, the night started well enough at Dixie.

On their third attempt to race in Woodstock, the United Sprint Car Series was finally able to get its show in, after two previous attempts were canceled because of rain.

National points leader Derek Hagar won for the ninth times this season, while Sean Hosey won the mini sprints portion of the race.

Swims-Green said the crowd at Dixie was one of the track’s largest of the season.
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