Racers say faulty inspections were not cause of Hawkeye Downs Sp - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Racers say faulty inspections were not cause of Hawkeye Downs Speedway deaths

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By day, Brian Gibson serves as the Cedar Rapids Battalion Chief, but he spends his summer nights racing at the Hawkeye Downs Speedway.

"Every Friday night, Hawkeye Downs, we're out there," Gibson said.

But recently, the track is scaring some people away.

In 2014, John Pickart died during a "Race 'Em or Wreck 'Em event" while driving a motor home which overturned on the track.

The next summer, Joan Feller killed after a crash on the track.

Some are concerned they died because the speedway doesn't properly inspect vehicles.

Gibson says that's not true.

"They check every piece of equipment to make sure that it is current, and that it is workable and in good shape," he said.

And tech teams have an extensive check list.

"A current model helmet, current model suit, gloves, shoes," Gibson said, naming just a few of the items on the list.

After the check, cars receive a sticker of approval that gains them entry to the track for a year.

Gibson tells me not only is every car inspected at the beginning of the year, but track inspectors come throughout the year as well.

"The track is inspected and cleaned every week and prepared for us," Gibson said.

Even so - he admits things can go wrong.

"Racing is a dangerous sport and we all know that," he said.

But he says when racers do crash, it's usually the fault of the driver -- not the equipment.

"It's on the racer to use that equipment week in and week out, and use it properly," he said.

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