CLARKSTON, Mich. (WXYZ) - Hidden away in Oakland County is Waterford Hills Racing where drivers work to make sure they don’t have incidents similar to the Kevin Ward tragedy.
Kevin Ward, Jr., 20, was killed on Saturday night during a race near Watkins Glen, NY, when he was struck by a car driven by NASCAR star Tony Stewart. Witnesses say Ward appeared upset that Stewart had caused him to spin out and that Ward was walking along the track pointing at Stewart as he drove by. Local authorities are investigating, but it appeared that Stewart’s car struck Ward accidentally. Ward was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.
At Waterford Hills Racing, it’s not NASCAR, Indy or Formula One, but don’t tell that to the guys driving the cars.
“Road racing is very technical because we’re turning both left and right,” said race car driver Danny Kellermeyer. “Here at Waterford, it’s a mile-and-a-half course and it’s 14 turns."
Things can get tight through some of those turns creating tense moments.
“Of course, you’re in the car, you get hot and I’m sure tempers kind of rise,” said Kellermeyer. "But, we’re all racing one person. We’re really racing ourselves.”
Fellow driver Bruce MacDonald agrees. “There happen to be other cars out there with me so, of course, I want to beat them,” said MacDonald. “But, I race against time— in my own mind, at least— and my performance on track.”
Danny Kellermeyer, 68, has 56 years of racing experience. Bruce MacDonald, 59, has 20 years of experience. Both men agree— a driver losing his or her cool on a track is not a good idea.
“Not a good idea, at all. It’s incredibly dangerous out here,” said MacDonald. “We do everything we can to protect not only the workers, but to protect the drivers and sometimes, from themselves.”
Kellermeyer added, “No one wants to see any kind of accident, let alone a fatality.”
With drivers hitting speeds anywhere from 85-miles-per-hour to 115-miles-per-hour, keeping their focus on the road and not road rage can help insure a safe, clean race.