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Grand Am Driver Jeff Clinton Killed

March 1, 2002

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) _ Grand Am series driver Jeff Clinton was killed Friday when he crashed during practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his team owner said.

Clinton’s car veered off the course as he entered Turn 1 and started flipping repeatedly. He died at the scene.

The 38-year-old driver from St. Louis was in his second season for Archangel Motorsport. He finished 54th in last month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

``He was a great guy,″ Archangel team owner Mike Johnson said. ``This was his fifth race with us and we’ve just always had a lot of fun with him.

``He made it fun for us. He always brought the right attitude, the right style, the right everything. We’re really going to miss him.″

This was the second deadly crash at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR truck racer John Nemechek died March 21, 1997, five days after sustaining massive brain injuries during a crash at the 1 1/2-mile oval.

Nemechek, the brother of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Joe Nemechek, crashed during the Florida Dodge Dealers 400 race. His truck hit the wall in Turn 1.

The Grand Am circuit is a lower-level series affiliated with the Indy Racing League.

In the past two years, there have been several deaths in U.S. auto racing, including NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt, Kenny Irwin Jr., Adam Petty and Tony Roper Jr., as well as ARCA driver Blaise Alexander.

The NASCAR deaths, all from head and neck injuries, have led to a series of safety measures, including the required use of head and neck restraints.

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