The two victims struck and killed by a race car at Marysville Speedway on Saturday evening have been identified as Dale Richard Wondergem Jr., 68, of Grass Valley, and Marcus Joseph Johnson, 14, of Santa Rosa. authorities said.
Both were standing near each other in the pit area of the racetrack when a car doing warmup laps careened off the track and hit them about 6 p.m., said Yuba County sheriff's deputies.
The driver of the car, Chase Domonic Johnson, 17, of Penngrove, was not injured. The younger victim was the driver's cousin and not an official member of the pit crew. His admittance to the pit area is being investigated, Yuba County sheriff's officials said.
Witnesses said there were about six or seven winged sprint cars completing what's known as "hot laps," or practice laps before the beginning of a race. The drivers were preparing for the first race of this year's California Sprint Car Civil War Series.
Johnson's sprint car zoomed off the track and over a retaining wall, sliding about 100 feet along a barrier into the pit, striking the two bystanders before tipping on its side and screeching to a stop.
Wondergem was pronounced dead at the scene, while Marcus Johnson was transported by ambulance to Rideout Hospital in Marysville and died a short time later, sheriff's officials said.
"Both Johnson and Wondergem were connected to race teams and had a legitimate reason to be in the pit area," said Yuba County Undersheriff Jerry Read in a written statement released Sunday afternoon. He said no patrons were ever in danger from the car.
Wondergem was described by race officials as owning several race cars, but did not own the car involved in the accident.
Read said it's unclear if the two victims knew each other, but were standing near each other when the car slammed into them.
"It was reported that Marcus was not an official member of Chase Johnson's pit crew, (and) his presence in the pit area is still being investigated," he said.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Anne Gonzales
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.