Roper critical after crash at Texas

Rober critical after crash in O'Reilly 400 By Dave Rodman FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 13, 2000) NASCAR veteran Tony Roper, 35, of Fair Grove, Mo., was listed in critical condition at Parkland Hospital in Dallas after he was airlifted by helicopter...

Rober critical after crash in O'Reilly 400
By Dave Rodman

FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 13, 2000) NASCAR veteran Tony Roper, 35, of Fair Grove, Mo., was listed in critical condition at Parkland Hospital in Dallas after he was airlifted by helicopter to the facility following an accident in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly 400 presented by Valvoline DuraBlend at Texas Motor Speedway.

Track officials said Roper, who was making his third start of the season for truck owner Mike Mittler in his No. 26 Mittler Tool Ford, was "unconscious and unresponsive" when he was brought to the track's Lonestar Health Infield Care Center, where he was placed on a ventilator to assist his breathing.

Roper's father, former ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series stock car champion Dean Roper, was in attendance at the race and was with his son at the hospital, track officials said.

Roper was injured when he crashed on the frontstretch of the 1.5-mile speedway after coming into contact with the No. 43 Dodge Motorsports Dodge driven by Steve Grissom. The caution came out on lap 33 when Grissom and Roper were involved with the No. 44 Dodge B y Petty Dodge driven by Mark Petty.

Roper, who slammed head-on into the frontstretch wall after making contact with Grissom, was initially taken by ambulance to the infield care center before being airlifted.

"Down here in Turn 3 and 4 I got tapped in the left rear and got loose," Grissom said after his truck was withdrawn due to the damage. "I was trying to get it gathered back up and from there, we were coming off 4 and the 26 truck hit the outside wall and then come back across and I collected him up as he come back across."

Grissom, who was scheduled to depart following the truck race to return to Talladega, Ala., where he is scheduled to compete in the Petty Enterprises Hot Wheels Pontiac in the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, wasn't quite sure what had transpired in the accident.

"I don't know where the lapped truck came from," Grissom said of the truck that hit him. "I was going by him and he moved up on me. I got sideways and it was all over."

"I was like sideways back there," Grissom said gesturing back to Turn 4 and using his hands to illustrate the wreck. "He come by like this and hit the outside wall and come back across and I hit him like that. Wrong place at the right time, I guess." -nascar.com-

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Steve Grissom