Auto Racing: Le Mans continues after driver's death

2013-06-23T00:00:00Z Auto Racing: Le Mans continues after driver's deathThe Associated Press The Associated Press
June 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

LE MANS, France - Alan Simonsen's death after a spinout cast a pall over the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The race still had more than 23 1/2 hours to go, but there was no call to stop it on Saturday after the first driver fatality in 16 years.

Simonsen's partner Carina, the mother to their daughter born last year, made sure of that.

It was her "specific request" that Simonsen's team, Aston Martin Racing, continue the world's most renowned endurance race in honor of the Dane.

Just 10 minutes into the race, Simonsen spun and skidded into the barrier at the Tertre Rouge corner where cars typically reach speeds of up to 105 mph. The 34-year-old Simonsen was taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries, race organizers said.

The violence of the impact showed as a tire from Simonsen's car rolled on the track while a door hung wide open. The race was held up for nearly an hour to repair the guard rail.

"Tragically, and despite the best efforts of the emergency services in attendance, Allan's injuries proved fatal," Aston Martin said in a statement.

Simonsen's death marked the first driver fatality since 1997 when Sebastien Enjolras was killed in pre-qualifying. The last driver fatality during the race was Jo Gartner in 1986.

Nationwide Series

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - AJ Allmendinger slid past Justin Allgaier with seven laps to go, then defended his lead through a late restart and a pair of nerve-testing green-white-checkered overtime finishes and won Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Road America.

For Allmendinger, it was another step toward rebuilding his racing career after sitting out part of last season because of a violation of NASCAR's substance-abuse policy.

Tucson's Alex Bowman finished 24th.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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