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NASCAR fan commits suicide in infield at NRA 500

April 15, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • The NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday took a tragic turn when a fan shot and killed himself in the infield.
The NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday took a tragic turn when a fan… (Tom Pennington / Getty Images )

A fan in the infield during NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night shot himself in the head and died, the Tarrant County medical examiner's office said Sunday.

The race was sponsored by the National Rifle Assn.

According to police spokeswoman Cpl. Tracey Knight, alcohol may have been a factor in the suicide of 42-year-old Kirk Franklin of Saginaw, Mich. The Associated Press is reporting Franklin apparently had gotten into an altercation with other campers.

While there were several witnesses, Knight said no one else was in danger.

The incident took placeĀ "in or around a pickup truck" in the infield near the middle of the backstretch, according to track spokesman Mike Zizzo, toward the end of the NRA 500.

Texas law prohibits fans from bringing firearms to the track.

It was the first time the NRA sponsored a Sprint Cup Series race; the group was the sponsor of a Nationwide Series race last year.

The NRA's sponsorship was controversial even before the incident. Earlier last week, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wrote a letter to Fox to ask the network not to broadcast the race. The NRA did not buy a premium ad package from Fox, so the race was televised without the sponsor mentioned on in-race graphics and the title sponsor mentioned just once an hour.


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