Speedway Driver Likely Saved By Device

UPDATE, TUES: Safety has been a hot topic in racing since the death of Dale Earnhardt several years ago. And, in a way, that tragedy and the resulting focus on increased safety may now be preventing serious injury and death at all levels of the sport.

There have been flips and wrecks at Tri-State Speedway before, but not in more than 30 years has a car gone over the wall of signs and the cyclone fence behind them. Speedway owner Tom Helfrich says the wreck may have been the combination of a track that was slick from all of the rain we had, and maybe a young driver not familiar with the speedway.

But whatever caused 19 year-old Brad Sweet to lose control, a head and neck restraint most big time drivers wear (known as the Hans device) may have helped him walk away. The car landed, apparently, on it's wheels, with minimal damage. The only damage to the speedway are the signs that will eventually need some repair.

Previously: You are not going to believe this exclusive video. Veteran Newswatch sports anchor Chris Goodman was there to catch it all on tape. "I've seen a lot of wrecks in person in my eleven years of sports casting, but this one is simply the most amazing and spectacular."

It all happened at Tri-State Motor Speedway Sunday night. Just another routine night in Haubstadt, Indiana, and as usual the USAC sprint cars paid a visit during Sprint Week. About 7:00 PM, it was time for qualifying when 19-year-old Brad Sweet of Grass Valley, California was trying to make a turn - and then, well - you just have to see the video. His sprint car starts to skid out of control on the turn and flies end-over-end, off the track and out of sight, into the pit area.

You can only imagine the fear that was going through everyone's mind, but miraculously - only moments later, Brad was out of his damaged car and into the ambulance. And seconds later, released with only minor injuries.

So what happened? Sweet says, after the wreck, it didn't take too terribly long for people to be on the scene. His team had just recently installed a Hans safety device, something he credits for saving his life. Amazingly, nobody in the pits was injured either