Tim Brown was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries following an accident that occurred between him and Frank Fleming on Lap 49 of Saturday’s SMART Modified Tour feature at South Boston Speedway.
The two were battling for the lead in the race when Fleming lost control of his car, sending both him and Brown into the outside retaining wall.
“During an incident in today’s SMART Modified Tour event, driver Tim Brown was injured and was extricated from his vehicle,” South Boston Speedway said in a statement. “He was alert at the time and is now being treated at a local hospital. He remains alter, in good condition and all injuries are non life-threatening.”
Brown and Fleming were at the front of the field after electing to stay out under caution while Ryan Preece, Chuck Hossfeld and others elected to pit for fresh tires.
On the ensuing restart, Brown launched ahead on Fleming on the high side and pulled ahead off Turn 2. Fleming was not ready to give up the spot but ended up making contact with Brown as they raced into Turn 3.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Fleming said about the crash. “Me and Tim were racing for the lead and we both had on older tires. My car was tight all night. We both went in and all of a sudden my car hooked and went to the right. It was just hard racing and I hope Tim’s OK.”
Jeremy Gerstner, who was the first of the cars that came in for fresh tires, was riding on the top lane when he saw Fleming and Brown lose control of their cars at the front of the pack and found himself with nowhere to go.
“It looked to me like [Fleming] never lifted and went straight up into [Brown] and cleaned him into the wall,” Gerstner said. “[Fleming] shot back across the track and got my right front suspension. It’s a racing deal and I hate it for both Frank and Tim because both of them are my friends but I’m glad Tim’s OK.”
Fleming also expressed relief that Brown’s injuries were not as serious as they could have been but he believed that the decision to stay out would have been beneficial if late-race cautions played out in his favor.
“If I put a tire on that car, it was going to be with 20 or 30 to go,” Fleming said. “I knew there would be more cautions and that Lap 49 was too early to pit myself. If the car was running good, so we were going to see how it was going to run under this strategy. If not, we were going to put a tire on it.”
South Boston Assistant General Manager Chase Brashears did not elaborate further on the injuries Brown sustained. He praised everyone involved at the accident scene for being prepared to handle the situation in a thoughtful and efficient manner.
“We’re grateful that Tim is doing well,” Brashears said. “We thank the local hospital for their work, our folks in the track services department and the [SMART Modified Tour] for their quick work to make sure Tim had everything he needed at the track and all the way to the hospital.”