A strange crash on the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track sent two drivers to an ambulance; Both drivers comment from hospital
On Wednesday, Bristol Motor Speedway opened race day at 9am. Officials made up many features that were delayed as they ran into curfew the night before.
View the Bristol Dirt crash photo sequence below.
Race after race, the day was almost over. Rain clouds were moving into the area, threatening to end another night early.
The were coming to a restart on lap 17 of 20 in the second modified feature. Behind them, cars were running into each other under caution.
Just as they were set to take the green, the No. 18K of Dale Kaake III and the No. 41 of Brandon Taipalus came together down the backstretch. They locked wheels and were unable to move.
As the cars sat parked in the middle of the back straight away, the green flag was out. Ricky Thronton Jr led the field through turn one and off turn two, still no caution.
Suddenly, the storming pack of 20+ cars were handing right for a blocked straight at a high rate of speed. As Thornton Jr passed them, the green flag was still out.
The first 8 cars had a clear enough windshield to avoid the cars stopped on the track, the green lights remained on. However, the escapes narrowed as they got deeper in the pack with less avoidance time for every car that went by.
Cars veered away from the center of the track. 9th place runner Marty Clark, driver of the No. 8B was left little time to move around the cars by the time he got there. He slammed the brakes and went into a four wheel slide.
Clark slammed into the back of the parked cars. This further blocked the track. From there, car after car piled into the crash with nowhere to go to avoid it.
Lyle Sathoff also locked all four wheels of his No. 8L machine. He four wheel slid into the scene.
Sathoff came to an immediate stop on impact. Soon after, the No. 51 of Dallas Caldwell drove right into the passenger side door of Sathoff.
Multiple drivers injured at Bristol
Officials surrounded the scene immediately. Several drivers needed immediate attention.
Safety crews spent the most time around the car of Lyle Sathoff. They cut the roof off and placed him in a stretch. Sathoff was placed in an ambulance and transported to hospital.
Marty Clark was also transported to hospital.
Both drivers are now neighbors in the hospital. They have each commented since the crash and provided updates on their recovery:
Lyle Sathoff comments after Bristol crash
Sathoff is a dirt track racer out of Sherburn, Minnesota. He issued the following statement:
“Hey everyone. I appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers,” Sathoff commented via social media on Wednesday night.
“I guess I wasn’t all there when they came to the car and my right pupil wasn’t acting as it should so they took me in as a precaution and have some tests done. I’m feeling pretty good considering but will be spending the night for observation.”
“My neighbor (Marty Clark) in the room next to me didn’t get as lucky, he has a couple broken ribs and a collapsed lung so keep him in your thoughts and prayers.”
“I saw the video and it angers me that they even started the race. It was so dusty we couldn’t tell where the yellow was that they were yelling about. By the time I saw a hint of cars in the dust where the yellow was all I could do was just try to slide the car into the wreck.
Sathoff added, “We have a lot of work to do and parts to replace but the crew thinks the car is overall good. Already asked if we had everything we need to fix it but we do not.”
Update: On Thursday morning, Sathoff announced plans to repair his car and get back in the event. A few hours later, he dialed back those plans:
He detailed, “I deleted my post about getting the car fixed and racing. After talking to the crew and family and having some time to really think about it. I am not going to race, I had a concussion and if I don’t let it heal and have a mishap it could be fatal and I need to take that seriously.”
Sathoff concluded, “I appreciate everyone! It’s hard to say that knowing how close we were and how fast we were but I’ve been reminded we had a lot of success down here and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
Marty Clark comments following Bristol crash
As mentioned, the No. 8B driver of Marty Clark from Russell, Kansas was also transported to hospital. He offered a brief comment:
“Ok. Several broken ribs and a collapse lung. Tons of bruises. Thanks for everyone’s support,” Marty Clark also commented on late Wednesday night.
Update: Clark remains in the hospital as of Thursday. He provided a medical update on Thursday morning:
He sent out via social media, “6 broken ribs and a hole in the lung, Still in the hospital. Thanks for support.”
Update Two: On Friday morning, Clark was cleared to be released from hospital.
Clark stated, “The head surgeon just came in and is releasing me. I want to thank the safety crew at Bristol Motor Speedway, the staff and dr at the infield care center and the staff at Bristol Regional Hospital. A big shout out to Shawna Petersilie and Mike Aiello for their help. I really really appreciate the kind words from everyone. It is overwhelming to me honestly. Bless all of you!!!”
Thursday’s portion of the Bristol Dirt Nationals is canceled due to rain. The show is set to resume on Friday and Saturday.