Controversy surrounds racer Tony Stewart after a sprint car driver he ran over during a race this weekend died. The incident has sent shock waves throughout the dirt track community and prompted a special safety message before Sunday night's event at Huset's Speedway.
The warning comes following this weekend's crash in New York, where an angry racer got out of his car to confront Stewart. Seconds later, he was hit. Med-Star Race Rescue Director Jay Masur says drivers getting out of their cars is a problem that happens at every track.
"We've all done it. We've all been mad. We've all stomped on. We've all shook our finger at somebody. There's very few people out here that can say that they didn't but this sheds a whole new light on the problem," Jody Rosenboom said.
Tempers can and will flare during a race but the message amongst this KELOLAND racing community, is there's a time and a place for confrontation and it's not on the track.
"Walking towards cars, like, I know the beast, I work around them. They're not an animal to flirt with. They're very dangerous," Ryan Bickett said.
"The problem, most of it, people don't realize is the lack of being able to see people," Rosenboom said.
Jody Rosenboom has been racing for more than a decade and says the way the cars are built makes it hard to see anything out of the right side. He adds while most drivers can locate officials dressed in white, opposing drivers in dark colors walking on the track are hard to spot.
Moving forward, safety officials will continue to stress the importance of staying in the racecar... and this latest crash should help the message hit home.
"Everybody's just going to point fingers but what's done is done. All we can do is look into the future and make sure it doesn't happen again," Bickett said.
Stewart isn't currently facing charges for this weekend's incident. As for Huset's, if a driver gets out of the car, he or she is not allowed to return to the race unless they left because of a fire or fear of a fire.