NASCAR WCUP: Kenny Irwin killed in Loudon practice crash
7 July 2000By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
LOUDON, NH: Kenny Irwin, a driver on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, was killed this morning in a practice crash at the New Hampshire International Speedway. Irwin was preparing to qualify for the New England 300 to be held Sunday.
Irwin's death was the second in two months at the one-mile oval in New Hampshire. Adam Petty, grandson of seven-time Winston Cup Champion Richard Petty, was killed on May 12 in the same general location on the track.
Irwin, age 30, was transported to the local medical center and then transferred immediately to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. His car was totally destroyed in the frightening crash between turns three and four.
There has been no comment from NASCAR officials on the incident.
Irwin was in his first year driving for Felix Sabates after spending two years driving for the Robert Yates Racing Team. The Yates team has seen more than its share of tragedies as well, with the death of driver Davey Allison and the near fatal crash of Ernie Irwin at Michigan.
Irwin started his NASCAR career in the Craftsman Truck series before being hired to drive for Yates in 1998. He was a star in he USAC open-wheel ranks before participating in NASCAR.
Irwin was impressive in his first outing in the NASCAR Winston Cup series. He captured the outside pole at Richmond International Speedway the first time he raced competitively in the series. Irwin also finished third in the 1999 Daytona 500, just a few car lengths behind the winner.
In USAC, Irwin earned eight wins, 20 second-places, 59 top-five and 87 top-10 finishes. He also won the 1996 championship.
Over the last couple of years The Auto Channel had the great pleasure of meeting and interviewing Kenny. He, like most of the drivers on the NASCAR circuits was a warm, friendly "good" guy. Listed below are a few of the video and audio interviews we did with Kenny. We hope you'll enjoy them and and get to know him a bit better.