Laton improving after accident
BROOKYLN, Mich. (Aug. 14, 1998) NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division driver Gary Laton, who was injured in a hard crash in Bud Pole Qualifying at Michigan Speedway Thursday, has been upgraded from critical to serious condition at St. Joseph Medical Center in Ypsilanti, Mich.
Laton's wife, Kristi, released a statement to the media Friday at 11:45 a.m. EDT.
"Gary has been upgraded from critical to serious condition," she said. "He responds to voice commands and opens his eyes. He can move his arms and legs well.
"Our family would like to thank everyone who has kept Gary in their prayers. We will continue to provide updates as his condition improves."
The part-time NASCAR Busch Series and ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series competitor was taken from the track by helicopter to the hospital Thursday afternoon following a hard crash in Turn 2 during Bud Pole Qualifying for the Pepsi 200 presented by DeVilbiss.
The native of Albemarle, N..C., whose family owns Concord (N.C.) Motorsport Park, was semiconscious when he was taken from his No. 46 Tampico Citrus Punch Chevrolet after the accident. The crash caused a delay of nearly an hour in Bud Pole Qualifying.
Laton was initially listed in critical condition, but his vital signs were stable. He underwent extensive testing, including a CT scan and X-rays.
Laton has made only two career NASCAR Busch Series starts. He started 32nd and finished 43rd in the GM Goodwrench Service Plus 200 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham in February and started seventh and finshed 23rd at Charlotte last season.
Laton also crashed during Bud Pole Qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the CarQuest Auto Parts 300 in May and was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released.
Dale Fischlein, driver of the No. 70 Adrian Carriers Chevrolet, also crashed during Thursday's qualifying session, but was unhurt.
Source: NASCAR Online