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Mar 8, 2002

Rich Oliver Crashes In 250cc GP Practice Friday Morning At Daytona, May Not Race

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Four-time AMA 250cc Grand Prix Champion Rich Oliver crashed at high speed on the banking after exiting the chicane in Friday morning's 250cc Grand Prix practice at Daytona.

"I must have hit something on the track," said Oliver from the Daytona Infield Care Center. "I was in fourth gear, way up by the wall and it highsided me. I was way past the Airfence.

"I slid forever and ground the end of my (left ring) finger off. I might need skin grafts." Oliver was also suffering with pain in his left hip when transferred to an ambulance gurney for transport to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

"I'm going to play it by ear," said Oliver, when asked about his plans for the rest of the race weekend. "I don't feel that fantastic about running the heat race (Friday afternoon). I'm going to try and see if I can get in the main and see what I can do."

Prior to Oliver's practice-halting incident, teenager Cory West crashed his Yamaha TZ250 into the Airfence outside of turn six.

"I went for the brakes and there was nothing," said a visibly shaken West. "It went to the bar, then I went for the back brake. It finally locked up and threw me into the Airfence. I was going at least 70 mph, as fast as it goes in third gear."

Riding on a track that was damp with condensation, Ty Piz and Jeremy Bonnett also crashed during the 250cc practice session.

Unofficial 250cc Grand Prix Practice Times From Friday Morning:
1. Jason DiSalvo, Honda, 1:56.346
2. Chuck Sorensen, Aprilia, 1:56.692
3. Roland Sands, Yamaha, 1:58.141
4. Perry Melneciuc, Yamaha, 1:58.176
5. Thad Halsmer, Yamaha, 2:01.475
6. Simon Turner, Yamaha, 2:01.618
7. Jeff Wood, Yamaha, 2:01.865
8. Ed Sorbo, Yamaha, 2:02.278
9. Chris Pyles, Yamaha, 2:02.418
10. Greg Esser, Honda, 2:02.595

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