FLORA, Ill. – Tragedy strikes at an Illinois speedway on the second night of a new season.
Don Lamacchia died during a race at the Clay County Speedway over the weekend. Witnesses said a car in front of Lamacchia’s flipped in the air; he tried to avoid it and drove underneath, but the falling vehicle landed on top of his car. Lamacchia was 53.
Friends said Lamacchia was a lifelong fan stock car racing.
“He loved the big time. That car he died in he built from the ground up; every car he had he built from the ground up,” said friend Rich Bowers.
Bowers said racing was in Lamacchia’s blood and that his father was also involved in the sport.
Bowers said Lamacchia won his first race and many more to follow.
“He died doing what he loved – he loved racing,” Bowers said.
Local church pastor Joe Smith said people in the Louisville-Flora area were excited that the race track reopened.
The track had recently reopened after being closed for years. A female driver was killed there about six years ago.
“It’s really tough when I see a new business starting up so early and such a devastating thing for a family and the people of a community to experience,” Smith said.
There’s been no word yet on if or when the race track will reopen.
Lamacchia owned a towing business in Mount Vernon. His truck and trailer that carried his stock car were parked out front Monday afternoon.
“He helped out a lot of people out around here. … You had problems, he’d try to help you. I’m going to miss him. I’m going to miss him a lot,” Bowers said.
Lamacchia is survived by his wife and three grown children.
Flora, Illinois is located approximately 110 miles east of St. Louis.