Jacksonville Sprint Car incident results in fatal injury

A man was killed during a MOWA event when a car spun into the infield

A 65-year-old man was struck and killed on Friday night at Jacksonville Speedway in Illinois when a Winged Spring Car driver lost control of his vehicle and veered into the infield. Another man was struck and is hospitalized with injuries that he is expected to recover from.

Morgan County Coroner Marcy Patterson said in a statement that Ralph A. Willhite of Jacksonville was struck by a Sprint Car and was declared deceased at the scene. The race was sanctioned by the Midwest Open Wheel Association and the remainder of the event of the canceled due to the incident.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday. The incident is believed to have been a result of a hung throttle.

Promoter Kenny Dobson also released a statement detailing additional injuries.

Things that can bring us the greatest fun and joy can also bring us the absolute lowest of lows. We wake up this Saturday morning processing and trying to make sense of it all. As most of you are now aware, one of the most widely beloved people in our racing family was taken from us during our event at Jacksonville Speedway on Friday night. It was a tragic accident that was witnessed by so many – including some of his closest friends and family.

Please give comfort to all those who are grieving or struggling today for however this tragedy may have impacted them. In this small community and given the public nature of thr tragedy, that number is quite large. They truly need your thoughts, prayers, space, respect and compassion as they deal with it in their own unique way.

Additional details will be released by others in the normal course of things and I will share those details when they are public and appropriate on speedway social media channels. … I ask that you not speculate or share non-public information.

I also want it to be known that our dearest friend Hank, who was also injured will be fine. He has some fractures but is still with us and acting just like you would expect Hank to act stuck in a hospital. Peace to all.

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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