The grandstand section directly below the window was cleared, causing a brief delay in the show
File this under ‘odd things that don’t fit into a category’
The Dirt Million at Mansfield Motor Speedway in Mansfield, Ohio has been highly anticipated for almost a year now. Over the past months the purse was crowd funded by avid dirt track racing fans looking to bring bigger things to their beloved dirt tracks.
Over the weekend, the green flag dropped on the inaugural two-day Dirt Million event. The purse would soon be finalized at $405,967. That makes it the highest paying dirt race since the Eldora Million in 2001.
During the very first heat race on Friday evening, glass came crashing down on the aluminum grandstands as Josh Richards took the win. It sounded like a cooler being tossed on the hood of a Delorean as glass pieces fell onto the aluminum seating some 20 feet below it’s intended mounting point.
Shards continued to drop onto the fans below for a few laps as the crowd and track crew attempted to figure out what had happened and if it was going to stop. The fans moved away from their seats, pulled out their tiny computers and began recording.
Luckily, nobody was injured. The glass completely shattered before falling. The pieces that descended on the fans below were luckily too small to cause much harm.
Apparently, a rock is what caused the shattered window scene at Mansfield Motor Speedway. The suites are lined with dual tinted glass. The outside layer was shashed as the inside layer remained perfectly in tact.
Ahead of the second heat race, officials delayed the start. The cars sat on the front stretch, engines fired, as track workers cleared that section of the grandstands and the suite.
Track promoter Cody Sommer then grabbed a sledge hammer, went into the suite and beat on the inside layer of the glass. That was to push out all of the remaining pieces of the broken glass that were still hanging on the outside.
Officials swept up the grandstand area below of the glass but roped off both end sections of the reserved seating. The rope on each end prevented entrance to that section for the remainder of the night. The fans who were seated there were relocated to other sections of the grandstands.
Why are there rocks on a dirt track? It hear you asking it … Rocks are carried onto dirt tracks all across the country. They don’t walk up and place themselves there. Usually, rocks are carried by the race cars from the pit area to the race track.
In this case, there’s rocks all over the pit area at Mansfield Motor Speedway. In turn, the racing groove is filled with them if you look close enough.
It’s not uncommon at all to see rocks mixed in with the dirt at tracks all over the country. As a photographer who regularly ventures outside of catch fence, I’ve been hit with many.
It’s somewhat uncommon to see a rock shatter glass on the tower. Though, I’ve seen that happen before as well.
The next morning a crane was in action to work on the window. The show resumed and Earl Pearson Jr went on to take the $203k victory.
There was a second odd moment during the feature race the following night. A red flag dropped on lap 51 of the 100 lap main event.
The flagman was hit and fell to the ground inside the flagman’s cage. The medical crew rushed from the infield to the flagman’s gate and attended to him. After several minutes, he stood up and went back at it. The flagman believes it was a clod of dirt that got him near his left eye.
“Okay let’s do this, I’m back and still alive. It was a mud clod, it’s still all over my glasses,” Kenny the flagman said as he arose.
As Earl Pearson Jr climbed from the car in victory lane, Kenny was one of the first people that Pearson approached with a huge smile. The flagman was sporting a hefty shiner at the end of the night. Though, he continued to say that he was alright.