Tragedy at Beaver Dam Raceway
By Nicholas Dettmann
BEAVER DAM, Wis. – Racing experienced a tragedy Saturday at Beaver Dam Raceway.
During the hot-laps session for the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series event, 47-year-old Scott Semmelmann of Brookfield crashed after making contact with another car and then made hard contact with the wall.
Semmelmann died because of the injuries suffered in the crash.
Beaver Dam Raceway General Manager Carolyn Mueller and Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series President Steve Sinclair decided to cancel the rest of the night’s program out of respect for the victim’s family and friends.
Semmelmann was competing in his first race of the season and first since last summer.
According to a news release by the Town of Beaver Dam Police Department, authorities confirmed the death of a 47-year-old male sprint car driver from Brookfield, but didn’t release the name.
Mueller and Sinclair confirmed the name.
According to the release, “when driving around the third corner the sprint car violently flipped and then crashed into the concrete wall killing the driver. This incident appears to be (a) tragic accident at this time.”
Police said the incident took place at approximately 6:10 p.m.
Fans, drivers and crew members were offered a refund, but were also given the option to donate their refund to the Semmelmann family, which most did.
Mueller said it is the first on-track fatality at the facility since it reopened in 1993.
The raceway released a statement that read, “Scott Semmelmann crashed during the practice session and was pronounced dead because of injuries suffered in the crash. The incident occurred at 5:58 p.m. Beaver Dam Raceway General Manager Carolyn Mueller and Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series President Steve Sinclair decided to cancel the rest of the race program out of respect for the family and friends of Semmelmann. Fans, drivers and crew members were offered an opportunity for a refund, but had the option to donate the money to the family, which most did. The incident was a racing accident. Beaver Dam Raceway and the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series express their condolences to the family and plans to donate any remaining proceeds from the evening to the family. At this time, out of respect for the driver’s family, Beaver Dam Raceway and the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series will not make any further comment.”
Fans and employees were hugging and crying moments after the races were canceled for the evening.
It was the track’s season finale. When the crash took place, there was silence and dark fell over the track with heavy and stunned hearts.
A loyal fan base of sprint car dirt track racing is in disbelief once again, just a month after 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. was struck and killed by NASCAR star Tony Stewart during a sprint car race in upstate New York.