Tragedy struck in Chicago as a worker died while setting up a street race in downtown Chicago near Grant Park. The worker, Duane Tabinski, died after being accidentally electrocuted by contact with live wires. A NASCAR Spokesperson offered a brief statement about the incident which occurred in the leadup to a highly anticipated race.
In an interview with WGN, a NASCAR spokesperson said, “On Friday afternoon a contractor suffered a fatal medical emergency. We are coordinating with local authorities on this tragic incident. We share our condolences to the family and their loved ones.”
According to a witness, the accident took place near the start/finish line. People in the area noticed a power outage, quickly followed by first responders arriving on the scene. The 53-year-old Tabinski was a sound technician who was working as a contractor for NASCAR.
Tabinski’s company took to Twitter to offer their own statement on the death of their employee. “The DUANE team is shocked and saddened to inform you of Duane Tabinski’s passing earlier today. He was busy doing what he loved, providing a top-of-the-line audio experience for the enjoyment of others. A very giving and caring soul, Duane will be missed. Updates to come.”
The DUANE team is shocked and saddened to inform you of Duane Tabinski’s passing earlier today. He was busy doing what he loved, providing a top-of-the-line audio experience for the enjoyment of others. A very giving and caring soul, Duane will be missed. Updates to come. pic.twitter.com/QUe9ZnIQTX
— DUANE (@DUANEROCKS_LIVE) June 30, 2023
The incident comes just days before NASCAR prepares to run its first-ever street race. Teams and drivers are excited to play a role in the next evolution of the sport as it continues to compete with Europe’s most popular racing sport, F1. According to some estimates, up to 100,000 fans are expected to line the track in Chicago as the week of July 4th approaches.
The 100-lap race will take place on July 2nd at 5 pm Eastern Standard Time. While the race is new and exciting for fans, it may be even newer for drivers who have not raced on the street in years. For some, this may be the first time in their careers.
NASCAR superstar Kevin Harvick sees this week as an absolute win for the sport, saying that this is a move in the right direction. He said, “Going through all these new types of events kind of changes your mindset to how you approach it because you see the enthusiasm, right, like you can feel it, you can see it.”
In a press conference, Chase Elliot seemed less convinced about the new track, saying that action might not be as intense as fans hope due to the narrow nature of the track. “It’s obviously narrow in sections. I think that’s going to be a hot topic of things to talk about. I do think it’s going to be difficult to pass once everybody gets up to pace come race time, but I hope that we’re able to mix it up and do different things.”
Regardless, this weekend’s race will go down in the history books for NASCAR. Bringing the race to the streets for fans to have a new viewing experience will be crucial for the sport to compete with F1.
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