DEMAIN EVENT: Too soon to start racing?
Marysville Raceway Park resumes schedule
This column was supposed to be about the double knockout at Galaxy Fight Night IV a weekend ago.
The video of the fight between Yuba City's Aaron Britt and Sacramento's Brandon Alexander went viral. The two exchanged right-handed punches at the exact same time and each hit the floor 20 seconds into the fight. It appeared on Jay Leno, ESPN and was picked up by almost every major website two days following the event.
But the clip was overshadowed by something else that went viral over the weekend — a story.
In our own backyard, a tragedy took place.
Two people were killed at the Marysville Raceway Park on Saturday, including the young cousin of the teenage driver who crashed into pit row.
Race car owner Dale Wondergem, 68, of Grass Valley and Marcus Johnson, 14, of Santa Rosa were in pit row when 17-year-old Chase Johnson's car careened off the dirt track and crashed into the pit.
The accident occurred when Chase Johnson and several other drivers were doing warm-up laps for the California Sprint Car Civil War Series. No one else was injured in the crash, and spectators were never in jeopardy.
Marcus Johnson's father, Rob Johnson, said his nephew, Chase, told him the wheel detached from the steering column as he was heading into a corner at about 90 mph, by all reports. The car hit a sloped wall, launched into the air and crashed about 150 feet from the track, striking his son.
There are so many questions, and it's too soon to ask many of them.
This is the second major accident where someone has been killed within three years at the track.
Merle Shepherd Jr. was killed during the IBRRA Big Rig Trucks exhibition in August of 2010.
It's not an easy thing to write about, and this is certainly difficult for the two families and the racing family out at MRP.
I even considered not running NASCAR results on Sunday in respect.
But unlike in 2010, the future of MRP is not in doubt.
Two weeks after Shepherd Jr.'s death, MRP closed for the remainder of the season. And later, even toyed with the idea of closing for good after nearly 50 years.
This was posted on MRP's Facebook page on Monday: "The 10th Great Taxi Cab Open will run as scheduled this Saturday night, despite the tragic events of last week."
In a press release, track promoter and announcer Bob Burbach said this: "The Johnson family, a party deeply affected by the tragedy, has offered continued support to racing in general. In a statement Sunday on behalf of his family, Don Johnson, who is the driver's father and victim's uncle, thanked the racing community for their thoughts and prayers."
While the local racing family will do all they can to show support, and has dedicated the rest of the season to the two fallen victims, I wonder if this is the right move.
For the sake of all deeply affected, I hope it is.