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Oct 19, 2001

Racer Stuart Stratton Killed At Daytona

Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Racer Stuart Stratton was killed Friday at Daytona when he hit an official on the grid and veered into the pit wall.

Most of the field had already left the grid for the warm-up lap before the start of the GTO race when Stratton, practicing a start on his Yamaha YZF-R6, apparently did not see official Virgil "Spud" Davis standing on the grid.

Davis suffered a broken leg and a broken arm.

Immediately after the incident, eyewitness Chuck Chouinard said "(Stratton) was two rows behind me on the grid and he did this practice launch. I could hear him rev the thing up to 14,000 rpm and fan the clutch out just like it was the race. He was leaned over the front end to keep it down and the whole bit.

"He came by me hard and was going at least 50 mph before he really looked up. By that time, it was too late. He hit that old man so hard, I thought the old man was dead! I mean, I can still hear the thump.

"The guy was walking down the middle of the grid waving his arms at the guys like, ‘Come on. Let's go.' There was no way for him (Davis) to get out of the way.

"After he hit that guy, I don't know if it knocked him out or he was killed right then or what, but (Stratton) kind of slumped off the left side of the bike. When he did that, he kind of turned the bars to the left and rode into the wall. His head hit the wall first. It wasn't at a 90-degree angle or anything. He hit the old man harder than he hit the wall."

CRA racer Tim Solien saw the accident from the other side of pit wall. "The rider was jetting," said Solien. "He did a practice start. The marshall didn't move. He (Davis) was holding his clipboard up. (Stratton) hit him hard, sent him flipping through the air and his shoe came off. I think the rider's dead. His whole helmet was crushed in."

Racetrack officials issued the following press release regarding the incident:

Daytona International Speedway officials announced that Stuart Stratton, age 35 of Royal Oaks, Ca., was involved in a single rider incident on pit road during Championship Cup Series Race #3 at 1 p.m. today.

Stratton was transported directly to Halifax Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 1:27 p.m.

Also injured in the accident was pit road official Virgil Davis. Davis, age 71 from Charlotte, NC, is listed in stable condition at Halifax Medical Center.