Police: Car's Direction Contributed To Disney World Track Instructor's Death

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The Florida Highway Patrol has released its findings on the April crash at the Disney World Speedway track that claimed a track instructor’s life, and it confirms what many suspected — that running the course in the opposite direction of how it was designed to run is what led to the car getting impaled by a guard rail.

Driving instructor Gary Terry, 36 — who worked at the Richard Petty Driving Experience and Exotic Driving Experience which ran at the Orlando track — was killed riding in a Lamborghini driven by a student that spun out and into a guard rail. Here are some of the Highway Patrol’s findings as reported by the Orlando Sentinel:

Terry’s car would not have been exposed to the guardrail’s end had the Exotic Driving Experience run its cars counterclockwise, according to a recently released FHP investigation. Richard Petty Driving Experience ran its NASCAR automobiles counterclockwise, the direction for which the track was designed. Its affiliated Exotic Driving Experience’s cars traveled clockwise.

“If the cars were going in the proper direction, yes, this probably would not have been a fatal accident,” crash investigator FHP Cpl. David Rodriguez told the Orlando Sentinel.


It is not known why the event ran their track days clockwise. In addition:

FHP said the driver, 24-year-old Tavon Watson of Kissimmee, ultimately contributed to Terry’s death by losing control of the car, which was traveling 102 mph. FHP said in its report that at 88 mph, the turn Watson was accelerating out of “would exceed the traction force of the tires on the surface.”


No charges were filed against the driver. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is still investigating.

The newspaper reports the track is set to be demolished this month to make room for a parking lot. The Richard Petty-owned Exotic Driving Experience “also stopped operating at Daytona International Speedway shortly after the Disney accident,” the paper reports. Neither Walt Disney World nor Petty Holdings would answer questions about the incident.


Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.