SAN FRANCISCO — A California raceway crash killed a 68-year-old race car owner and the 14-year-old cousin of the teenage driver whose vehicle careened off the track and into the pit area, authorities said Sunday.
The Yuba County Sheriff’s Department said Dale Wondergem Jr. of Grass Valley and Marcus Johnson of Santa Rosa died after they were struck at the Marysville Raceway Park about 6 p.m. Saturday.
Marcus Johnson is the cousin of the 17-year-old driver Chase Johnson, who was not injured in the collision. Wondergem owned a race car at the track, but not the one involved in the crash, according to Undersheriff Jerry Read.
The crash occurred when six or seven “winged sprint cars” were doing warm-up laps before the start of a scheduled race. Chase Johnson’s car left the track at an undetermined speed and collided with Wondergem and Pengrove before it tipped on its side, sheriff’s officials said.
Chase Johnson of Penngrove is a senior at Petaluma High School north of San Francisco and is a fourth-generation racer, according to his website.
Johnson has been racing for three years at the Petaluma Speedway, where he’s won multiple races and was last year’s series champion, said Ron Lingron, the track announcer at Petaluma Speedway. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather were also champion drivers in Petaluma, where the family owns a muffler shop.