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Riverhead Raceway driver Silas Hiscock Sr. dies following crash Saturday

04/29/2019 10:46 AM |

A veteran INEX Legend driver died from his injuries following a crash that occurred Saturday at Riverhead Raceway, according to raceway officials.

Silas Hiscock Sr. of Bridgehampton crashed into the wall during a practice run and had to be extricated from the car, officials said. He was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center and then moved to Stony Brook University.

In a statement Monday morning, Riverhead Raceway announced Mr. Hiscock had died. He was 78.

“All of us at Riverhead Raceway send our condolences and prayers to the Hiscock family on the loss of this wonderful man,” the raceway said in a Facebook post.

Raceway co-owner Tom Gatz said the raceway owners received word Monday that Mr. Hiscock had died.

“We’re definitely very shaken up by it,” said Mr. Gatz, who owns the raceway along with Ed Partridge and his wife Connie. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

It’s the first in-car fatality since 1994 when NASCAR Modified driver Bill Quilligan, 45, died while racing in a non-contact incident after suffering what was determined to be heart failure, according to the raceway. Mr. Hiscock’s death is the fourth at the track in the past 25 years.

Silas Hiscock and his son “Skip” Hiscock with the 1913 Mercer Raceabout in Water Mill in 2014. (Credit: Southampton Press file photo)

Bob Finan, the longtime voice of Riverhead Raceway, also called Mr. Hiscock, who raced in the No. 07 car, a “wonderful man and racer” in a Facebook post.

Mr. Hiscock’s long racing career spanned two different eras. In the 1950s and ’60s he raced both Sportsman and Modifieds and he earned his lone Modified win July 8, 1961. He stepped away from racing before ultimately making a comeback with the introduction of a new class at Riverhead Raceway called the INEX Legend. The class features body styles of coupes and sedans from his racing heyday, Mr. Finan wrote in a press release on Mr. Hiscock’s passing.

In 2018, he made nine starts in his No. 07 car and placed 24th in the final point standings.

“What made returning to racing more attractive to Silas this time around was the fact his sons Silas Jr. and Will joined him on the track often racing side by side,” Mr. Finan wrote.

Mr. Hiscock owned and operated Hampton Gas Tank Services in Bridgehampton.

It was in his hometown where he was well-known for driving around, with his sons, in a 1913 Mercer Raceabout, considered by some to be America’s original sports car. The Raceabout was originally purchased by his father, Fred, some time in the 1920s and was a prized family possession. 

While the raceway season hasn’t officially started yet, Saturday was a “sneak preview” with free public practice. The first practice day scheduled for April 20 was rained out.

His son Will was making a return to Legend racing and was also practicing Saturday but was not on the track at the time of the crash.

The season is scheduled to officially begin Saturday, May 4 with a 50-lap NASCAR Modified main event.

Another crash occurred during Saturday’s practice but did not result in serious injury.

The circumstances that led the impact involving Mr. Hiscock’s crash are not fully known, the raceway said. The crash occurred “just feet away” from the turn four entrance gate to the track. It happened in close proximity to the ambulance EMT and other safety personnel who “were on scene immediately,” the raceway said.

He was transported to PBMC and once he was stabilized, doctors determined he needed to be transferred to a Level-1 trauma center at Stony Brook University. He passed Sunday night into Monday morning, the raceway said.

Visiting hours for Mr. Hiscock are Thursday, May 2 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in Sag Harbor. Burial is Friday, May 3 at 11 a.m. at Edgewood Cemetery in Bridgehampton.

In 1999, Walt Edsall, the NASCAR chief steward at the track, was struck by a wheel that came off a Modified car during a heat race. He died a few weeks later. In 2002, Larry Costa, a Blunderbust/Charger driver, was fatally injured after falling from a golf cart at the track.

WITH TIM GANNON

AND DREW BUDD, SOUTHAMPTON PRESS

Photo caption: Silas Hiscock Sr. competed in the Legends division at Riverhead Raceway. (Credit: Riverhead Raceway)

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