Sprint car racer Jeff Osborn died Friday night after his car hit a pole at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley.
The wreck happened in front of a crowd, including his family, at the speedway.
Authorities said Osborn, 38, of Savannah, Mo., somehow lost control during the race. His sprint car left the track and rolled before striking the pole, according to Assistant Chief Eddie Saffell of the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District
Medical crews took Osborn to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Saffell said.
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Osborn’s wife, Tina Osborn, said her husband had been racing in various motor sports since he was 16 years old.
He stopped racing a few years ago, but the sabbatical didn’t last long.
“If he could have gone professional, he would have,” she said.
Osborn was a self-employed contractor who devoted much of his free time to racing. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t time spent with family. His wife said that she and his two boys, ages 14 and 12, were considered part of his team.
Those who knew him best understand that racing was his passion, Tina Osborn said.
She said the Grain Valley track appeared to be in good shape Friday night.
“He used all the safety precautions that they possibly had,” she said.
She said fatality wrecks were uncommon at this level.
Saffell agreed, saying that injuries can and do happen at Valley Speedway, but life-threatening injuries are rare.
“That’s the first time that we had anything like that,” he said.
Osborn was well known on the sprint car racing circuit. He spent much of his racing career at tracks in Nebraska.