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Daytona Speedway cited in February track death

By wire services
Published August 7, 2004

DAYTONA BEACH - Federal labor officials cited Daytona International Speedway on Friday for failing to enforce safety procedures that could have prevented the February death of a track worker during a stock-car race.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued $11,175 in proposed fines, including a $6,300 penalty for the alleged violation that contributed to the death of track-crew supervisor Roy H. Weaver on Feb. 8.

The other $4,875 in penalties stem from other potential work hazards, including hearing loss, that federal investigators found during inspections at the track that were not related to the accident.

Weaver, 44, of Ormond Beach was struck and killed by a car during the IPOWERacing 150 while he removed debris from the track. Several racing officials said at the time that the fact the driver involved, Ray Paprota, is a paraplegic was not a factor in the accident.

James Borders, area director of the Jacksonville office for OSHA, said a fine against a racing venue for a worker's death is rare.

The citations against the Speedway are ranked as "serious," meaning officials knew or should have known about the potential dangers to its employees. The maximum penalty for a serious citation is $7,000. Borders said the penalty for Weaver's death was adjusted because OSHA had not inspected the track before and had no history with the speedway.

OSHA, which is part of the U.S. Labor Department, has issued larger fines in the past - up to $70,000 for a workplace fatality in cases when an investigation found a company had willfully disregarded safety standards.

Speedway spokesman David Talley didn't comment on the federal investigation Friday. "Until our legal team has had a chance to read the report, we will not comment," Talley said.

The Speedway has 15 days to pay the fines, have a meeting with OSHA officials or appeal the citation to OSHA's review commission.

Officials with IPOWERacing, the racing body that sanctioned the Feb. 8 event, also declined comment, saying they had not had a chance to read the federal report.

Weaver's family couldn't be reached for comment.

IRL: Two chief mechanics were fined by the league and placed on probation for the rest of the season for violations at Michigan International Speedway, where three crewmen were hit during pit stops.

In one of the accidents Sunday, Tomas Scheckter's car struck his mechanic, Steve Namisnak, early in the Michigan Indy 400. Scheckter swerved to avoid the car of Tora Takagi. Namisnak suffered a broken leg.

Takagi's chief mechanic, Don Lambert, was fined along with Mike Sales, chief mechanic for Adrian Fernandez. His car struck that of Vitor Meira, which tripped Mike Horvath, a crewman for Dan Wheldon. Horvath was not seriously hurt.

The fine amounts weren't disclosed.

GRAND AM: For the sixth time in seven races the Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley starts from the pole after Max Papis posted a track-record lap of 102.254 mph in qualifying for the Rolex Sports Car Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

[Last modified August 6, 2004, 23:55:17]


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