THOMPSON, Conn. (AP) – A Massachusetts racer was killed Sunday when his midget car hit another, flipped over a concrete wall and struck a billboard on opening day at Thompson International Speedway.

Shane Hammond of Halifax was 27. He died at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, state police said.

This was the second fatal accident at the speedway in less than eight months. A call to the speedway was not immediately returned.

The accident happened during the 2008 Ice Breaker. The race is part of the Northeast Midget Association, a lower-level regional series.

“He was relatively new, but had received accolades galore from veterans in the midget organization,” said Russ Dowd, director of operations at the raceway.

About 8,500 spectators were in the stands, an above average attendance because it was the track’s opening day, Dowd said.

Hammond crashed on the third of 25 laps. His car hit one driven by Chris Leonard of Pelham, N.H., The Hartford Courant reported.

State police are investigating with help from NASCAR. NASCAR sanctions a race at the track, although not this one.

Last August, John Blewett III of Howell, N.J., died at this track after his car and one driven by his brother hit a wall near the end of the Whelen Modified Tour.

AP-ES-04-06-08 1951EDT


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