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Don Williams (#68) was competing in the Late Model Sportsman race, the Permatex 300, at Daytona on February 17, 1979. The crash began on Lap 3 when Jack Ingram (#94) blew an engine exiting Turn 2. Freddie Smith (#43) slipped in the oil and went into a spin, then was struck by the Mercury of Joe Frasson (#50). As Frasson coasted to a stop, it was then struck from behind at full speed by Delma Cowart, rupturing the fuel tank; a massive ball of flames shooting from Frasson's car. Williams was behind Cowart and tried to avoid the pileup. His Chevelle slammed into the wall at a high rate of speed, spinning into the infield amidst a shower of flying debris. Williams suffered head and chest injuries as well as a fractured right arm and an aneurysm in the right eye. Frasson escaped from the burning wreck without serious injury.
Williams' extensive injuries left him in a comatose state for the next decade, until passing away on May 21st, 1989.
NASCAR Late Model Sportsman
Daytona International Speedway
World Press Photo; Mark Gregory; Jack Kromer
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