BEAVER DAM (WITI) -- Police say a Brookfield man is dead following a crash at the Beaver Dam Raceway. It happened on Saturday evening, September 20th.
The Town of Beaver Dam Police Department says 47-year-old Scott Semmelmann, an experienced sprint car driver from Brookfield was killed as drivers took part in warm up laps. Police say when driving around the third corner, the sprint car violently flipped and then crashed into the concrete wall -- killing the driver.
Town of Beaver Dam police say the incident appears to be a tragic accident at this time.
All races were cancelled at the Beaver Dam Raceway following the incident.
"Racers -- we're all family, and I personally didn't know him, but it's like losing a member of your family. It's the danger we put ourselves in," race car driver Jim Bucher said.
Beaver Dam Raceway officials released the following statement after the incident:
Beaver Dam Raceway experienced a tragedy Saturday night during the hot laps session for the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series, a Midwest touring series.
Scott Semmelmann, 3X, crashed during the practice session and was pronounced dead because of injuries suffered in the crash. The incident occurred at 5:58 p.m.
Beaver Dam Raceway General Manager Carolyn Mueller and Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series President Steve Sinclair decided to cancel the rest of the race program out of respect for the family and friends of Semmelmann.
Fans, drivers and crew members were offered an opportunity for a refund, but had the option to donate the money to the family, which most did.
The incident was a racing accident.
Beaver Dam Raceway and the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series express their condolences to the family and plans to donate any remaining proceeds from the evening to the family.
At this time, out of respect for the driver’s family, Beaver Dam Raceway and the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series will not make any further comment.
Semmelmann and his brother used to race every week, and they won some big competitions together. As they got older and had families and other commitments, the races became more seldom. But still, over the years, racing kept the brothers close.
The evening before Saturday's race, Scott Semmelmann and his brother, Brian were in a Brookfield garage until 2:00 a.m.
"This is where we prepped the car and built the car," Brian Semmelmann said.
Brian Semmelmann was his brother's crew chief.
"We had this weird bond where he didn't have to tell me what he was thinking. I knew and vice versa," Brian Semmelmann said.
Saturday's race at the Beaver Dam Raceway was going to be their first of the year.
"He was chomping at the bit because the season was gonna end and he needed his fix. He needed to get out and let it rip," Brian Semmelmann said.
The race turned tragic before it would even begin.
"He went into turn number three and he either caught the edge of another vehicle, or his vehicle drove up onto the edge of the tire, which then caused the violent flip," John Kreuziger said.
Scott Semmelmann's car crashed into a concrete wall and skidded along its surface before landing on its side.
Police say he died instantly.
"I'm glad I didn't have to hear this through somebody else. I got to see it. As bad as that sounds, I wouldn't want to hear this secondhand," Brian Semmelmann said.
Brian Semmelmann says racing was his brother's passion, but not his top priority.
"It was just a small part of his life. I mean, he was a heck of a family man and he has three beautiful children and a great wife," Brian Semmelmann said.
A memorial fund has been set up for Scott Semmelmann's family. CLICK HERE to make a donation.
Brian Semmelmann says his brother was a charitable man -- using his car to raise money for Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
"He had no flaws. His only flaw was he didn't quit," Brian Semmelmann said.
Brian Semmelmann says he and his brother worked together every day as auto technicians.