A 78-year-old race car driver who crashed Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway during a practice run has died of his injuries, according to a raceway news release.
Silas Hiscock Sr., of Bridgehampton, crashed into a wall during the fourth turn and was rushed to Peconic Bay Medical Center and later transferred to Stony Brook University Hospital where he died Monday, the release said. Hiscock's in-car death was the first at the track since 1994, when a driver suffered heart failure while racing.
“Our hearts hurt this morning hearing of the passing of INEX Legend Race Car driver Silas Hiscock Sr.,” read a post on the raceway's Facebook page. “All of us at Riverhead Raceway send our condolences and prayers to the Hiscock family on the loss of this wonderful man.”
Calls to the raceway were not returned and members of Hiscock’s family were unavailable for comment.
Legends car racing involves smaller replicas of vintage cars and was something Hiscock enjoyed, said longtime racer Dave Brigati.
Brigati, of Calverton, said he didn’t know Hiscock well and wasn't at the track at the time of the crash but the driver's death has reverberated throughout the small Riverhead Raceway community.
“He was an average guy having fun on a Saturday night,” Brigati said. “It’s a tragedy. There’s no other way to look at it. He was out there doing what he loves.”
Hiscock began racing in the '50s and '60s and took a hiatus before returning to Riverhead Raceway with the introduction of INEX Legend Race Cars in 1992, according to the news release.
“The class, which featured body styles of the coupes and sedans from his racing heyday were right up his racing alley and Silas went back racing,” the release said. This time, his two sons, Silas Hiscock Jr. and William Hiscock, who both also race, joined him. William Hiscock practiced Saturday night at the raceway but was not at the track when his father crashed, the release said.
The elder Hiscock owned and operated Hampton Gas Tank Service in Bridgehampton.
“We are sadden to learn that one our own, Silas Hiscock Sr., has passed away,” read a statement on the raceway’s Twitter account. “All of us at Riverhead Raceway send our prayers and condolences to the entire Hiscock family on the loss of the wonderful man and racer.”
Hiscock's is the fourth death at the track in the past 25 years, according to the release. In 1999, a man died when he was struck by a wheel that came off a race car. Another man died in 2002 when he fell from a golf cart.
“I’ve seen something like this happen maybe one other time — I mean a driver, not an accident that happened in the pit or something," said Brigati, who has been racing for 30 years. "You rarely ever see something like this. … but we’ll get together and be there for each other.”
The Riverhead Police Department officials said the crash was not reported but they are investigating.
With Joan Gralla