The only known fatalities at Raleigh Speedway occurred on September 19th,1953 during the inaugural Sportsman's Modified race.
Bill Blevins of Fayetteville, NC and Jesse Midkiff of Haw River, NC were killed after a 15-car pile up during the first lap. Blevins' car had stalled and stopped on the backstretch of the speedway and Midkiff collided with Blevins at close to 90 mph sending flames "more than 70 feet into the air." After the track was cleared, the race was restarted and won by Buddy Shuman of Charlotte NC.
This incident became known as “Black Saturday,” and forced NASCAR to confront issues of driver safety and public perception of the sport.
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