A race car driver injured after a rollover accident at the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park Saturday remained hospitalized Wednesday suffering from burns.
Ryan Hover, 25, was listed in serious condition, according to a spokeswoman at University Hospital in Syracuse.
Hover, who lives near New Lebanon, Columbia County, suffered severe burns on his arms and face after his car overturned on the track, said Mike Romano, a racing promoter for the track.
Both Hover and a member of the track’s safety crew, Curtis Rouse, suffered injuries. Romano said Rouse was treated at a hospital and released.
“It could have been worse,” Romano said.
Romano said Hover’s vehicle rolled over and the fuel cap came off, letting fuel spill out. Romano speculated the fuel cap wasn’t on tightly.
Romano said it was the first major fire he’s seen at the track since he began promoting races there a year ago.
Rollovers and other accidents happen during races, Romano said. Typically, crews simply flip a car back over and the driver is OK, he said.
“Normally, nothing happens,” Romano said.
But on Saturday, fuel leaking from the car erupted in flames, Romano said.
The track employs a safety team, and team member Rouse pulled Hover out of the car, suffering burns himself in the process.
Romano said 42 seconds elapsed from the time the car caught fire until the safety team had Hover out of the car and extinguished the blaze.
“They actually did a real good job,” Romano said of the safety team.
Both Hover and Rouse were taken to hospitals by helicopter, Romano said.
Romano said he believes Hover lacked adequate safety equipment for racing. He said fire-proof gloves and other garb are suggested but not a requirement to race. Hover was wearing regular mechanic’s gloves, Romano said.
The track had sufficient fire suppression supplies for the fire and backup material was available after the fire, Romano said.
The quarter-mile clay track, located on Mary Lane, just north of Fultonville, became the subject of controversy earlier this year when the Glen Town Board filed a lawsuit against the town Planning Board.
Town officials filed the action citing complaints from residents about noise and their own concerns about safety. The town agreed to suspend the lawsuit when planners agreed to revisit a site plan review for the race track, which got its start as a go-cart track and evolved to automobile racing.
The planning review continues, and town officials have said they expect to hear word on progress in September.