TMS will review policies after suicide during NASCAR race

Posted Monday, Apr. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- Texas Motor Speedway officials say they will review current procedures and policies in light of a man fatally shooting himself while in the infield during Saturday night's NASCAR race.

Kirk Franklin, 42, shot himself in the back of his pickup after arguing with other race fans in the infield campground near the end of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Saturday night, police said.

Franklin had a reserved recreational vehicle spot on the grounds, TMS spokesman Mike Zizzo said in an email responding to questions about security at the race track.

Early reports indicated that alcohol could have been a factor, according to police.

"First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the fan we lost tragically on Saturday night," Zizzo said. "In light of that incident, we will have internal discussions regarding the current procedures and policies we have in place in correlation to that incident as well as seek additional guidance from the Fort Worth Police Department."

State law prohibits a person from bringing a firearm on the premise where a high school, collegiate or professional sporting event is being conducted. Violation of the law is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Zizzo said gates leading into the infield have visible notice signs that state in English and Spanish: "Texas State Law Provides That It Is Unlawful To Carry A Handgun On These Premises."

Admission tickets read on the back that the ticket holder must consent to a reasonable search for drugs, weapons or other prohibited items.

Zizzo said TMS screens fans similar to what is done at other major sporting events. He said authorities conduct random checks of some of the approximately 6,000 to 7,000 vehicles that travel in and out of the tunnels to the infield area per day during a NASCAR weekend. Among those vehicles are the 1,000 RVs or campers that have parking spots in the infield, he said.

"While it would be an extremely daunting task to search every vehicle that travels into the infield -- which could number as high as 7,000 vehicles per day on a NASCAR weekend -- we still will perform our due diligence of these procedures and policies as we traditionally do after every race," Zizzo said.

Zizzo said while he could not divulge the amount of security or specific procedure for security reason, TMS works in unison with Fort Worth police, several surrounding and outside agencies and multiple third-party security vendors to comprise the track's security force.

Deanna Boyd, (817) 390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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