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Burned racer's family seeks more track rules

By John Estus Modified: April 9, 2008 at 1:24 am •  Published: April 9, 2008
There's no skin left on Harli White's back. Gruesome burns stretch from her neck to her ankles.

Charlie White looks at the half of his 12-year-old daughter's body charred by flames from a race car fire Saturday and sees a stark wake-up call for racing communities everywhere.

"The reason why Harli got burnt so bad is because the facilities there at the track didn't have the proper safety equipment on their part to get her out of the car,” Charlie White said. "The state of Oklahoma should be required to have some type of safety procedure in order.”

The White family is calling for more safety regulation of private racetracks similar to the one where Harli was burned.

The owners of I-44 Speedway, where the fire occurred, haven't responded to requests this week to discuss Saturday's fire. The southwest Oklahoma City racetrack regularly hosts Kid Sprint races offering children ages 6 to 12 a chance to race on a dirt track.

The sprint cars they drive can reach speeds of 40 mph. Saturday's race was Harli's first.

Numerous racers, government officials and lawmakers said they aren't aware of any licensing or safety procedures that governments require of racetracks.

Most safety requirements at racetracks are imposed by insurance companies or the track owners themselves, said Tommie Estes, national coordinator for the American Sprint Car Series.

The Oklahoma City Police Department responded to Saturday's incident, but isn't conducting a criminal investigation. Master Sgt. Gary Knight said an investigation would only be conducted if a racer died.

Harli is expected to survive and is recovering from surgery at a Texas burn hospital for children.

"She's a fighter.

Continue reading this story on the...

Harli White
The 12-year-old Lindsay girl is recovering from surgery after she was burned in a racing accident.


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