1990 Daytona ARCA 200 (partially found footage of ARCA Racing Series race; 1990)

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This article has been tagged as NSFL due to its discussion of a fatal motor racing accident.



1990daytonaarca2001.jpg

Jimmy Horton celebrating his win.

Status: Partially Found

The 1990 Daytona ARCA 200 was the inaugural race of the 1990 ARCA Racing Series. Occurring on 11th February at the Daytona International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Jimmy Horton in a Pontiac. However, the event is overshadowed by the fatal accident involving Slick Johnson, as well as an incident where EMT Mike Staley was run over while tending to Johnson.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1990 Daytona ARCA 200 was the 27th running of the event, with the annual race with the annual event typically lasting 200 miles.[1] The only 1990 ARCA Racing Series race to occur at Daytona International Speedway,[2] it has ties to the modern Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200.[3]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Patty Moise winning the pole position in a Buick with a speed of 194.536 mph.[1] Directly behind her was Chevrolet's Bob Keselowski, with Ronald Cooper lining up third in a Ford.[1] Jimmy Horton qualified 13th, while Slick Johnson started 39th out of 40 runners in a Pontiac after electing to utilise a backup car following a crash during a practice session.[4][1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1990 Daytona ARCA 200 commenced on 11th February.[1] Keselowski shot into the lead on the first lap, holding it for 21 laps before dropping it to Oldsmobile's Tracy Leslie.[1] Leslie held on to the lead until lap 28, when Moise regained the first position.[1] She defended it until Tommy Riggins in a Chevrolet passed her on lap 35.[1] However, Riggins was only able to maintain the first position for five laps, dropping it to Charlie Glozbach, who started the race last in a Pontiac.[1] He held it for the longest uninterrupted duration of 31 laps, before Horton moved past on lap 71, following a spin from Glozbach.[5][1] Here, Horton briefly engaged in a duel with Ford's Ken Ragan, but he successfully made the final lead change on lap 76.[1]

Following the fatal accident of Slick Johnson on the same lap, a caution period brought racing to an end, allowing Horton to claim victory and $10,700 in prize money.[4][1] In second and third were the Pontiacs of Mark Gibson and Clay Young respectively.[1] Post-race, Horton was happy to win despite finishing under a caution period, stating "You never want a race to end under caution, especially with a wreck like that. It's so unfortunate and you just hope that everybody's OK. We wanted to finish under green, but somebody's got to be there. I'm just glad it was me."[5][4]

Death of Slick Johnson and Mike Staley Accident[edit | edit source]

The race was notable for its crashes, with four serious ones occurring.[6] Seven incidents arose that prompted 25 of the 80 laps to be run under caution.[5][6][1] Some blamed the drivers' lack of experience and a high turnover of experienced competitors for the incidents, with Horton stating "It was just a case of people getting in over their heads."[6]

On lap 76, Johnson was competing at the front of the field, when he spun between Turns 3 and 4 while driving too low.[7] This caused his Pontiac to slam backwards into the outside wall, while also being hit by fellow Pontiac driver David Simko, who said following the accident "The 95 car (Johnson) lost it in three and four, got down on the apron and shot back up the track. "There was so much smoke everywhere I didn't know where to go. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time".[8][9][7] Pontiac's Billy Thomas was also involved, and he ended up slamming into a wall almost head-on, fracturing his left wrist,[9][8][7] while Kevin Gundaker in a Chevrolet ended up suffering a bruised back.[9][4] Meanwhile, Johnson's stricken Pontiac was rolling onto the apron of the track, which caused him to be hit at top speed by two approaching vehicles.[7][4][9] Johnson suffered a basilar skull fracture and multiple chest fractures, and while he was taken to Halifax Medical Center, he was deemed to be in a very critical condition.[10][7][8][4][9] Ultimately, Johnson died three days following the event, aged 41.[7][10] Prior to the race, Johnson was a racing veteran, having first competed in 1966, and achieving a few fifth places in the 1980 Winston Cup Series.[8]

After the accident occurred, 35-year-old EMT Mike Staley approached the scene to tend to Johnson.[8] But while the yellow flag was out, the leaders failed to spot it on the start-finish line, with most thus continuing to race as they reached the accident.[6] Suddenly, Keselowski spun out, with him hitting Gundaker's Chevrolet.[8] The impact caused the Chevrolet to slam into Staley, knocking him ten feet into the air, with Keselowski's Chevrolet additionally running over Staley's lower body.[4][8] The accident resulted in Keselowski injuring his left leg, while Staley was in a serious condition, including breaking his left leg, as well as breaking and burning his left forearm.[4][6][8] Unlike Johnson, Staley managed to recover, but ultimately could no longer be a paramedic.[11] He later sued ARCA in 1991, being awarded $357,895 in damages.[11] Staley later provided motivational talks regarding overcoming adversity.[12][11] Four years following the crash, he primarily blamed racing officials for the "racing back to the flag" rule that enabled drivers to continue competing for the rest of the lap after a crash occurred, believing that the cars should have been forced to slow down immediately following the crash.[11]

Availability[edit | edit source]

It is known that ESPN planned to showcase the race on tape delay.[12] However, the accidents, particularly the images of the Staley collision, dissuaded the broadcaster from airing the event, with the full race footage yet to publicly resurface as of the present day.[12] Nevertheless, footage of both accidents are publicly viewable, after Rescue 911 was allowed to use ESPN's clips of both.[12]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Rescue 911 segment on the accidents.
SportsCenter's report on the accidents.
Documentary detailing Staley's accident.


Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Racing-Reference detailing the qualifying and race results of the event. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
  2. Racing-Reference detailing the 1990 ARCA Racing Series schedule. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
  3. ARCA Racing detailing its history at Daytona International Speedway. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Tampa Bay Times reporting on Horton winning the race and the accidents. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Orlando Sentinel reporting on Horton winning the race and the incidents that transpired. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 The New York Times reporting on the accidents and how lack of experience was blamed for the incidents. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 The Crash Photos Database detailing Johnson's fatal accident and providing photos of it. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 UPI reporting on Johnson and Staley being injured following the accidents, and Simko's comments. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Sun-Sentinel reporting on the accidents that occurred during the race. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
  10. 10.0 10.1 Los Angeles Times reporting on the death of Johnson. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Orlando Sentinel reporting on Staley's comments four years following the accident. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Influential Moments in Racing detailing the ESPN broadcast that never aired. Retrieved 21 Apr '22