Rusty Wallace’s racing organization is trying to determine what caused the death of an Indiana man at a fan driving event bearing the former NASCAR driver’s name.
Stephen Cox of Decatur, Indiana, died Sunday at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center from injuries sustained in a Sept. 14 accident during the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Cox was 30.
RWRE spokesman Bill Coady did not provide details Tuesday about the accident or say whether Cox was the driver or passenger in the stock car during the event. Wallace was not at the track when the accident occurred.
Wallace’s son and Rusty Wallace Inc. vice president, Greg, emailed a statement from the company to The Associated Press that said, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Cox. We have been in contact with the management of RWRE — a licensee of RWI — to ascertain the facts and understand exactly what happened.”
Coady said Cox’s death was the first fatality in the four-year existence of RWRE, which is based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and operates at 60 locations in the United States and Canada.
Cox’s death was first reported by the Kentucky Enquirer.
RWRE is among several companies bearing names of famous drivers that offer one-day fantasy-type driving experiences to the public in “condensed” NASCAR vehicles featuring manual transmissions. An advanced package in a Nationwide Series car is available, as are ride-along options.
Coady said that Wallace, a Hall of Famer and an ESPN race analyst, shows up at the experience “on occasion.”
RWRE’s prices range from a $169, five-lap entry-level package on a short layout up to $1,099 for 20 laps on a superspeedway. Classroom and on-track instruction is provided depending on the package, and a driver’s license is required.
Participants must have their own health insurance and are responsible for damage to the cars. RWRE offers a $60 optional plan that limits individual costs to $1,000 and says that “due to the quality of the training and cars, damage is rare.”
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