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Eric Martin

Eric Martin (February 6, 1969 – October 9, 2002) was an ARCA driver from Hixson, Tennessee, who was killed at the Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 9, 2002, during a practice session for the season-ending EasyCare 100.

Martin initially spun and backed into the fourth turn wall, coming to rest on the racing line entering the tri-oval. A fairly routine and innocuous accident, Martin radioed his crew that he was fine. However, 16 seconds after the initial crash, just as Martin was unbuckling his belts, Deborah Renshaw, going full speed along the racing line in the belief that the track was clear, careered directly into the driver's side door of Martin at about 160 mph and killed him instantly.

Both ARCA and Renshaw were roundly criticized following the accident. ARCA received criticism because its regulations did not require spotters to be located on top of the grandstands. Renshaw's spotter was standing on top of the team trailer, and thus could not see the wreck and communicate its location to his driver. Thus, in spite of the fact that 16 seconds, an eternity in racing, passed between the initial crash and the fatal second collision, not all the drivers were notified of the crash. Renshaw was herself criticized because although several other cars with similarly situated spotters, managed to see Martin in time and slow considerably before avoiding him, Renshaw did not see the car stopped on the racing line until it was much too late to avoid the fatal collision. Eric left behind two sons, Brian and Matt Martin.

Martin had 40 starts in the ARCA Re/Max Series.

Aftermath

Eric's death ended a chain of 5 deaths in North American Motorsports from 1999-2002. Eric's death was monumental in getting updated regulations passed in ARCA, namely having spotters required in the grandstands for practice. Drivers exiting vehicles also had to wait for safety officials to arrive before getting out of a wrecked car.