We perish because we know not… #TLENews
A 36-year-old Davenport man died today after a Lamborghini in which he was riding lost control at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the driver failed to maneuver the high-powered sports car through one of the course’s curves, and the vehicle’s right side struck a guardrail.
The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene, according to FHP’s Sgt. Kim Montes.
The male driver was taken to Celebration Hospital with minor injuries and has since been released.
Neither the driver nor the passenger were identified, and it was unclear Sunday evening whether the driver was an employee or visitor.
The incident took place at about 3:30 p.m. at the Exotic Driving Experience at Walt Disney World Speedway, according to the FHP report. The track is operated by Petty Holdings, which has other Exotic Driving Experience attractions at speedways in Atlanta, Daytona Beach, Charlotte, New Jersey, Kansas, New Hampshire and Texas.
The Richard Petty Driving Experience, where fans can drive NASCAR cars or ride shotgun at speeds up to 165 mph, opened in 1997. Four years ago, Petty Holdings introduced the exotic-car experience, where people can drive Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches. The driving packages start at $99 and go past $2,500 for a 50-lap experience with an in-car video.
The speedway lies south of the Magic Kingdom parking lot and west of World Drive.
The attraction at Walt Disney World is scheduled to close on June 28 to make way for transportation improvements. There is also a Richard Petty Driving Experience at Daytona International Speedway in Dayton Beach.
“We offer our deepest sympathetic to those involved in today’s tragic accident,” said Andrea Finger, spokesperson for Walt Disney World Resort.
Petty Holdings LLC also issued a statement of condolence. In an email sent to the news media late Sunday, the organization stated, “On behalf of everyone in the organization, it is with a very heavy heart that we extend our deepest sympathies to those involved in today’s tragic accident in Orlando. Florida Highway Patrol is currently investigating the incident.”
NASCAR 7-time cup champ Richard ‘The King’ Petty talks about Walt Disney World’s plan to close the Richard Petty Driving Experience, during Daytona Speedweeks in February, 2015. (Joe Burbank & Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)
The high-speed attraction in Orlando is named for Richard Petty, 77, an iconic figure in NASCAR history with seven NASCAR Cup titles, seven Daytona 500 victories and a record 200 victories, including 27 in one season.
He is now the point man for Richard Petty Motorsports, a team in the Cup series — the highest level of NASCAR competition. He is a 2010 inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992.
Unassuming and one of the most approachable sports personalities of this generation, Petty is regularly accessible during most NASCAR race weekends, easy to spot in his signature sunglasses and cowboy hat.
The crash remains under investigation, according to the FHP.