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Despite Report, NASCAR Continuing Investigation

NASCAR, responding to independent medical expert Barry Myers’ report on the crash death of stock car racer Dale Earnhardt, said Tuesday that the report was not a contradiction of the sanctioning body’s findings.

“Contrary to several reports in the media, this report is not an opposing theory to anything NASCAR has presented,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said in a statement. “Since the Daytona 500 [the race in which Earnhardt was killed], NASCAR has made clear that we will not suggest or speculate on the circumstances surrounding Dale Earnhardt’s accident until our study is complete. No one from NASCAR has ever suggested what may have happened . . . other than to say in our preliminary investigation we found issues of concern involving [Earnhardt’s shoulder harness and seat belt].”

NASCAR had said after the accident that Earnhardt’s lap belt had broken, and Steve Bohannon, Daytona Speedway physician, theorized that Earnhardt’s death was caused by his chin hitting the car’s steering wheel.

Myers, a Duke University professor with doctor’s degrees in medicine and biomedical engineering, had reported Monday, after viewing Earnhardt autopsy photos, that the driver died of a basilar skull fracture unrelated to the chin impact and that the broken seat belt had not contributed to that fracture.

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NASCAR had announced Monday, before Myers’ report had been published, that it was conducting its own review of the accident by a team of experts. “This latest report will not change that,” Helton’s statement said.


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