ARCA driver Blaise Alexander Jr. killed in crash with Earnhardt car

Posted: October 05, 2001

CONCORD, N.C. — Blaise Alexander Jr., a 25-year-old driver from Montoursville, Pa., died after suffering a severe head injury in a crash last night at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Alexander had no pulse and was unresponsive at the accident scene and during 25 minutes of resuscitation attempts at the infield medical center, said Jerry Gappens, the speedway's vice president of communications.

Alexander was the Auto Racing Club of America rookie of the year in 1996 and recorded three victories in the series, including one earlier this season in Brooklyn, Mich. He raced full-time last year on the NASCAR Busch Series and had limited experience in the Winston Cup Series. ARCA is a separate sanctioning body but uses cars similar to those used by NASCAR.

Alexander's father, Blaise, and brother, Adam, were at the track when the accident occurred.

Alexander had nearly completed an inside pass of Kerry Earnhardt for the lead with four laps to go in the EasyCare 100 when their cars tangled on the front stretch. Alexander's Pontiac turned sharply to the right and into the outside wall. Earnhardt's Chevrolet rolled over and caught fire, but he was able to climb from the wreckage.

"Blaise just came up on me for some reason," Earnhardt said. "When he did, he turned into the wall, then came back down on my right rear and got me upside down."

Earnhardt was declared the winner after the race was stopped and then called complete after 63 of a scheduled 67 laps.

Earnhardt's father, seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, was killed in a horrific crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500 in February.

Alexander was wearing a neck collar but did not wear any of the head and neck support devices that have been developed and become popular this year. The devices have been credited with saving the lives of several drivers.

This was the seventh stock-car driver and 14th person overall to die from injuries suffered at the speedway in its 42 years and the first since 1995. The last previous driver to die at the track was Russell Phillips.

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