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from the AP Wire:

AUGUST 11, 11:02 ET
Actor Priestley Seriously Injured

By STEVE HERMAN
AP Sports Writer
*NYX*/Ed Reinke [24K]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



SPARTA, Ky. (AP) ? Actor Jason Priestley was seriously injured Sunday when his race car crashed head-on into a wall during a practice run at the Kentucky Speedway.

Priestley, a former star of the ``Beverly Hills 90210'' television series who now races for a professional team, was flown by helicopter to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.

The extent of his injuries was not immediately available, an Indy Racing League spokesman said.

Priestley had reached a top speed of 178 mph in the eight laps before his race car crashed coming out of a turn in the final practice for an Infiniti Pro Series race.

``He got sideways and he corrected and then shot off the track,'' said former Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, whose son, Arie Jr., competes with Priestley in the Infiniti Pro Series, an IRL developmental series.

``He turned right into the wall, and his first impact was basically head-on,'' Luyendyk said. ``I saw it from the top of the roof. What I'm thinking is that's really the one big hit that he took that might have hurt him.''

Priestly, 32, began racing in the California Rally Series in 1991 and participated in the SCCA Pro Rally Series, IMSA Firehawk Series, Magna Enduro Series and Sportscar GTS1 Series during the 1990s. His first victory was at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1998.

Last season, he was a broadcast analyst for the IRL series. This year, he joined the Kelley Racing team in the new Infiniti Pro Series, a developmental circuit with open-wheel cars that are similar but smaller and less powerful than the IRL cars.

Priestley, a native of British Columbia, has been in crashes before. He crashed a powerboat during a race in Miami in April, leaving one crew member with cracked ribs, and in 1995, he crashed into a ditch during the Michelin SCCA Pro Rally in Olympia, Wash., but recovered to finish the race.

Last year, he completed an alcohol counseling program he was ordered to attend when he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor DUI charge stemming from a December 1999 car crash in the Hollywood Hills. The accident totaled Priestley's Porsche and broke a friend's arm.

In addition to his television work, Priestley's film credits include ``Eye of the Beholder,'' ``Calendar Girl'' and ``Love and Death on Long Island.''
 

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Current reports are a fractured spine, head injury and both feet are broken. The spine could be either minor or paralyzing, the head injury could run the range as well and the foot injuries are obvious after looking at the picture. That looks like it was a VERY hard hit. Hopefully he pulls through with no lasting effects.

This sparks the question, when will open wheel racing get the hint and force (mandate) that the footbox of these cars to be made larger to give these guys some more protection? Not trying to start a "flame'thread" but this kind of thing happens too often. And befre anyone flames me, I know that both IRL and CART are the leaders in safety inovation.
 

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As Steve Herman's AP News Wire report included,

"Priestley began racing in 1991 in the California Rally Series and won his first race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1998."

Many of us remember him in his CRX (and later Toyota) at
various CRS events.

Our thoughts are with you,
Patrick
 

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RE: footbox protection

They more than have taken a hint, the pro cars (CART/IRL/F1/Atl) are much better than years ago, I'm not too sure how much development or testing these new IRL Infinity series cars have gone thru but the design parameters sould be similar.
The indy car I drove was the '93 March like Mears got his feet injured in and my knees were at the centerline of the front axle and my feet well forward of the tire edge. As far as room, I needed to put one foot past the spring/shock at a time splaying them out when past to enter the car. That meant if a front wheel hit the wall, the rocker pushed the spring thru your ankles - ouch! I built an aluminum box that fit under the nose cone that was to be a deformable structure but never got to test it.
If you watch T Scheckter's crash at Kentucky you'll see what J.P. probably did, T.S. tried to catch it when the rear let go (like we'd all do) then when the car hooks, it shoots head on into the fence. You need to decide when loose is too loose and just crank it left and do the spin. At least you don't hook and you may get to continue. If that is what happened, it was a rookie mistake at 180+, kind of like running a stage in seed 6 with an EVO. (I am a great fan of a more structured training/licensing scheme for rally).
rz
 

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RE: footbox protection

As Randy said, the structure on the front of open-wheel cars is now designed for this type of impact. If you look ad the picture of the car, the majority of the damage appears to be confined to the crushable structure of the nose box. The injuries that have been mentioned seem to bear that out, as they appear to be mostly from stopping rather suddenly than from structural failure.

Wishing him a speedy recovery,
Adrian
 

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>
>As Steve Herman's AP News Wire report included,
>
>"Priestley began racing in 1991 in the California Rally
>Series and won his first race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car
>Course in 1998."

As was quoted on another thread...

Don't forget, Jason Priestly ran Sunriser a number of years back in one of Vinnie Frontinan's cars. Every prepubescent female from Zanesville to Columbus was shrieking his name down in Yoctangee Park (and I have the tapes to prove it...). He didn't do bad -- a mid-pack finish in what I think was his first rally drive.

He was very gracious, what with pictures and autographs post-event, and a first-service radio interview that I did. Nice guy...hope he recovers and can continue his dream...
 

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>Don't forget, Jason Priestly ran Sunriser a number of years
>back in one of Vinnie Frontinan's cars. Every prepubescent
>female from Zanesville to Columbus was shrieking his name
>down in Yoctangee Park (and I have the tapes to prove
>it...). He didn't do bad -- a mid-pack finish in what I
>think was his first rally drive.

Charlie, you know I HATE to contradict you...but Jason Priestly's first rally drive...in fact his first several Pro drives...ended up in DNFs. His first Pro finish was at Ojibwe. I distinctly remember him walking into the hotel to be met by a round of applause from everybody present...he looked very surprised to be so recognized...and made a part of the family.

The prepubescent females had long since lost track of him and gone home...

Bruce
 

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update

'90210' actor should recover from crash injuries, doctors say

Associated Press
Aug. 12, 2002 07:55:00

SPARTA, Ky. - Actor Jason Priestley was becoming more alert and should recover fully from a concussion, broken back and other injuries suffered when his race car crashed into a wall at 180 mph, doctors said Monday.


The 32-year-old former "Beverly Hills 90210" star, competing in the new Infiniti Pro Series, spun into the wall at Kentucky Speedway during practice Sunday.

Priestley was flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center with a spinal fracture and a closed head injury, as well as a broken nose and broken bones in both feet.

Priestley was in serious but stable condition Monday morning.

"Jason does not have any injury that shouldn't fully recover," said Dr. Andrew Bernard, trauma surgeon at University of Kentucky hospital, at a news conference Monday.

Priestly was breathing on his own, responding to commands and becoming more and more aware of his surroundings, doctors said Monday morning.

"We have no indication from any of the scans that he's had that he has any further damage to his head," Indy Racing League medical director Henry Bock said earlier. There also was no sign of paralysis, he said.

Priestley, a native of British Columbia, became a TV heartthrob starring with Luke Perry, Shannen Doherty and Jennie Garth in the Fox network's "Beverly Hills 90210," which ran from 1990 to 2000. He played Brandon Walsh, the Minnesota boy whose family moves to Beverly Hills and learns to adjust to life there.

In recent years, however, he began focusing on auto racing and was considered to be a knowledgeable and talented driver.

"He's gotten to know everybody and changed everybody's opinion of him. He's shown he's a good racer. He's been running up front," driver Ed Carpenter said.

On Saturday, he qualified his Dallara-Infiniti - similar to an Indy Racing League car but smaller and less powerful - for a start next to pole-winner A.J. Foyt IV for Sunday's 100-mile race. The Infiniti Pro Series is the IRL's developmental series.

He crashed coming out of the second turn in the final practice, apparently after driving through a patch of "oil-dry," an absorbent material that had been spread on part of the track about 10 minutes earlier to soak up oil from another car.

"He got sideways and he corrected and then shot off the track," said former Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, whose son, Arie Jr., competes with Priestley.

"He turned right into the wall, and his first impact was basically head-on," Luyendyk said. "I saw it from the top of the roof. What I'm thinking is that's really the one big hit that he took that might have hurt him."

In April, Priestley crashed a powerboat during a race in Miami, leaving one crew member with cracked ribs. In 1995, he crashed into a ditch during the Michelin SCCA Pro Rally in Olympia, Wash., but recovered to finish the race.

Last year, he completed an alcohol counseling program he was ordered to attend when he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor DUI charge stemming from a December 1999 car crash in the Hollywood Hills. Priestley's Porsche was totaled and a friend broke an arm in the accident.

Priestly was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and produced and directed a number of documentaries, television dramas, cable network specials and music videos. His film credits include "Eye of the Beholder," "Calendar Girl" and "Love and Death on Long Island."

He began racing in 1991 in the California Rally Series and won his first race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1998. Last season, he was a broadcast analyst for the IRL series, and this year, joined the Kelley Racing team in the Infiniti Pro Series.

He is seventh in the series standings.
 

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Hey dood...all I said was that he finished, and that I THOUGHT it was his first. Seeing as Sunriser came after Ojibwe on ye olde schedule, I'll defer to your memory on this one.
But I do remember him finishing that year (which one, don't ask me), and the young female contingent was both numerous and vocal at the Yoctangee Park spectator stage Yump...like I said, I've still got the tapes to prove it.
 
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