‘Deeply saddened’: NC-based NASCAR team hauler driver killed in fiery Texas crash

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The co-driver of Mooresville-based David Gilliland Racing’s No. 17 NASCAR ARCA team hauler died in a fiery wreck in Texas Tuesday morning, authorities said.

The 54-year-old driver, Steven Stotts of Valley Head, West Virginia, was pronounced dead at the scene, Sgt. Jean Dark, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a news release..

“We are deeply saddened to confirm the passing of Steven Stotts,” team officials said on Twitter. “Our deepest sympathies go out to Steven’s family and friends.”

Stotts “failed to control (the hauler’s) speed” and hit a trailer from behind that an SUV driver was towing on Interstate 20 West just before 4:30 a.m., a half-mile west of Longview, DPS spokeswoman Dark said in the release.

The David Gilliland Racing hauler then hit a concrete barrier in the center median and caught fire, she said.

Three others in the wreck were hospitalized in stable condition, according to the DPS statement — a 63-year-old Alabama man driving the SUV, and two passengers in the racing team hauler, 38-year-old Mocksville resident John Zaverl and 45-year-old Michael Mizzelle of Mooresville.

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Concern for the survivors

On Twitter, David Gilliland Racing officials said Stotts was a co-driver of the No. 17 ARCA series team transporter.

Stotts and his passengers were headed to Arizona for Friday night’s Menard Series ARCA event at Phoenix Raceway. Longview is about 130 miles east of Dallas.

Zaverl and Mizzelle were released from the hospital, the team said on Twitter later Tuesday. “Our continued thoughts are with the driver of the second vehicle involved in the accident,” team officials posted.

The ARCA team’s driver is 16-year-old Taylor Gray.

“DGR and driver Taylor Gray’s participation in Friday’s event will be determined at a later time,” team officials said in the statement.

In April 2021, Gray underwent surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem after a single-car wreck in Statesville, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time.

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Gray, who made a full recovery, broke his L4 vertebra, a part of the spine in the lower back, the Observer reported.