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Driver killed short track: Driver, 21, killed after ramming short track wall

Driver killed short track: Driver, 21, killed after ramming short track wall
Driver killed short track: Driver, 21, killed after ramming short track wall
Midget Car / Wikimedia Commons

A female 21-year-old driver, participating in a recreational short track run in New Jersey, was killed last weekend when her car slammed head on into the upper turn wall. Amanda Gambacorto, from Middletown, N.J., was killed Saturday afternoon, marking the second fatality on a U.S. short track within a week.

Reports Fox Sports: “According to multiple reports, Gambacorto… died after her three-quarter midget went head-on into a wall at Wall Stadium Speedway in Wall, N.J., early Saturday afternoon. State Police Capt. Steve Jones told the Press that Gambacorto's car was following another racer before her car slammed head-on into the wall.”

Gambacorto was pulled from her vehicle and rushed to the Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where she was pronounced dead.

The 21-year-old college student from Stony Brook University, double majoring in environmental humanities and philosophy, was not participating in a race with other drivers, as has been incorrectly reported by some media outlets. Rather, she was “following another car during a clinic from Green Flag Driving Experience before losing control and hitting a wall,” writes sbstatesman.com.

The Green Flag Driving Experience allows novice drivers to drive actual vehicles that are “race-ready” – cars used in the Green Flag Driving Experience are “actual team cars built for and raced in the auto racing series. You drive them just as they are raced -- fully equipped with the latest performance and safety equipment,” says their website. Amanda was driving a midget car, with a speed capable of approximately 90 mph, when she crashed on the 1/3 mile short track.

Circumstances surrounding the crash and the speed she was driving at have not been released. It also has not been reported if Amanda had any previous recreational track driving experience.

After the accident, Wall Stadium Speedway canceled Saturday night's scheduled races. A message posted to the track's website read: "With heavy hearts we cancelled our racing events August 16, 2014.”

Amanda was a member of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority house. A statement was posted by the sorority on its Facebook and Instagram accounts:

For those who didn’t know Amanda that well, she was [a] fiery spirit who would try anything once. Her smile and passion for the world was contagious. Amanda was a friend, a teacher, a sister, a role model. She touched not only the lives of all of our sisters, but anyone she encountered. Although Amanda might not know it, she has changed the world for the better and left a lasting impression, especially on us. We love you Amanda and you’ll never be forgotten.

Amanda’s accident occurred one week after 20-year-old driver Kevin Ward Jr. was struck and killed by a car driven by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart. Ward exited his vehicle midrace to confront Stewart, who had bumped Ward into the wall. Stewart’s car ran Ward over, spinning him into the wall. In light of the accident, NASCAR pushed through a new rule that mandates drivers to remain in their vehicles when the yellow caution flag is out.