TOLEDO, Ohio — In the wake of Brian Finney’s fiery incident at Toledo Speedway during practice for the Menards 200, the ARCA Racing Series has released a statement reaffirming their commitment to safety at their race events.
Finney’s car caught fire just before the start-finish line on a practice run Saturday, rolling to a stop at the exit of Turn 2 and quickly becoming engulfed in flames.
While Finney was able to exit the car and was uninjured, his car and ARCA Ilmor 396 engine were a complete loss, with videos circulating social media showing safety officials doing nothing to help Finney exit the car or extinguish the blaze.
Ultimately, Finney himself — with the aid of Cunningham Motorsports crew chief Chad Bryant — put out the fire with the help of a nearby extinguisher, drawing outcry from fans who questioned ARCA’s track response crews and their care for the drivers in their series.
Tuesday night, ARCA President Ron Drager responded to those questions, issuing a statement exclusively to Race Chaser Online regarding the incident and admitting that the safety response shown Saturday was not up to the level that the series and sanctioning body expects.
“We review our safety policies and procedures on an ongoing basis, and our combined track and series safety response to this incident falls short of the standards we have established,” said Drager. “Our review of the incident is ongoing; however, we made adjustments in several areas prior to Sunday’s race, including vehicle placement, equipment and assignment of duties of the response team.”
“I’ve spoken directly with Brian, both Saturday after the incident and today (Tuesday), as well as with our staff, in reviewing how we can best respond to such circumstances. Throughout our 65-year history in the sport, we have placed safety at the forefront and are committed to continuing to do so.”
The next event on the ARCA Racing Series schedule is the Shore Lunch 250, set for June 3 at Elko Speedway.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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