IRL: Greg Ray, John Menard On Charlotte Tragedy

Greg Ray ...

Greg Ray #2 Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone Saturday, May 1, 1999 Visionaire 500 Lowe's Motor Speedway - Charlotte, N.C.

Three spectator fatalities brought a tragic end to the evening at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the running of tonight's Visionaire 500. On Lap 61 of the scheduled 208-lap event, the cars of John Paul, Jr., and Stan Wattles both slammed into the Turn Four wall, launching a tire into the stands. Polesitter Greg Ray was running second to Buzz Calkins at the time. The field followed the pace car for 18 caution laps while the situation was being assessed. The race was red-flagged on Lap 79, with Ray in the lead after Calkins pitted during the caution laps. On Lap 79, the race was red-flagged, and track president Humpy Wheeler announced shortly after that the event was called off due to the fatalities.

GREG RAY - "Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. I think Humpy Wheeler and (track chairman) Bruton Smith are gentlemen in every sense of the word. They have a great love of motorsports, but they have an even greater love for family, and they did the right thing. It just shows what kind of gentlemen they truly are. I don't know what that means as far as the outcome of the race, but, frankly, I really don't care."

JOHN MENARD - "This is not a victory, this is a tragedy. When something like that happens, nothing else matters. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the spectators who were involved, and to their families. We must hope for better days."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Stan Wattles , John Paul Jr.