Boy, 12, critically injured in Auburndale Speedway kids race
WINTER HAVEN - A 12-year-old Arcadia boy remained in critical condition Sunday after crashing his race car during a youth event at the Auburndale Speedway on Saturday night. Tyler Morr was driving a black stock car in a Kids Club heat race at the track, 5640 W. County Road 542 in Winter Haven, when the 7:45 p.m. crash occurred. Polk County sheriff's deputies said the races are regularly scheduled events for youths ages 12 to 16, and this race involved five cars racing for eight laps. During the race, Tyler was in the outside of the second turn when a second car, driven by 12-year-old Justin Cribbs of Lakeland, passed him on the inside.Tyler moved toward the inside and into Justin, deputies said. Tyler lost control of the car, which rotated clockwise and struck a concrete wall bordering the outside of the track. Track rescue and medical personnel immediately were at the crash scene, and Tyler was initially flown to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, deputies said. His condition stabilized, and he then was flown to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. Justin was not injured and drove his vehicle to the pit area when the race was stopped. Both drivers were the sole occupants of their vehicles, and both were harnessed and wearing helmets. The vehicles, which are non-registered, modified cars built strictly for youth racing, were reinforced inside as is common with standard racing cars, deputies said. Speeds of vehicles were estimated to be no more 40 to 45 mph. Other races at the track were canceled after the crash. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Tyler Morr's, family and friends," the speedway's management wrote on its website.