WATERFORD, CT :: Contact between two competitors in the pit area sent one car spiraling towards a spectator area and left one injured on Saturday night at the Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut during the Mr. Rooter 161 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event.

Denis Benoit, 61, suffered an injured leg when Spencer Davis and Rowan Pennink made contact on pit road under caution. Davis’ right front tire popped up and over the left front of Pennink’s machine and sending Davis towards a makeshift barrier that separated crew members from pit road.

Davis hit the barrier, which consisted of PVC tubing inside a concrete block with a plastic fence attached to it, as well as a garbage can. The garbage can slammed Benoit’s leg into a concrete block. He was checked and released by an ambulance crew.

The accident could have turned out much worse according to Benoit.

“There was nothing between us except a little, orange mesh fence,” said Benoit. “The 79 (Davis) went up and over the other car. I tried to dump out, but I’d seen it coming. I tried to jump out of the way, but I’m too old.”

Pennink said that Davis was going down pit road faster than he should have been and believed that contributed to the incident.

“He was going way faster than he should have and jumped over the side of my car and then jumped into that barrier,” said Pennink.

“That pit road is just real tight,” said Davis. “We got cut off by a white car. I got it back in gear and got back going pit road speed. We got alongside the 93 car. We were about side by side and it seemed like he just turned hard left coming out of the pits. We just wheel hopped. And when it did it just took the steering wheel right out of my hands.

“I did all I could do to stop. It just happened so fast I did all I could to react to try to avoid it. I slid to a stop and luckily I didn’t hit no body. I think a trashcan did wind up hitting somebody, but we talked after the race to the guy and he said he was okay. So luckily no one was hurt and nothing major really happened.”

The Speedbowl does not have a pit road inside the race track. As a result, the pits are located on the outside of Turns 3 and 4. Team members were able to stand inside the mesh fence and were allowed to move freely from their pit box to the fenced area until the Turn 3 pit gate opened.

When the caution came out team members would run to their pit box if they needed to service their car. But once the gate opened they had to stay in their location until the gate closed.

The teams are forced to service their car as quickly as possible so they don’t lose a lap under caution due to the way the pit area is laid out. Pennik said that teams have only 10 seconds to do what they needed without losing a lap.

Benoit would like to see Jersey Barriers in that location instead of the fencing to offer more protection for the crews that have to stand there.

“Someone is going to get hurt,” he said. “I’m surprised this was as minor as it is but someone is going to get hurt with that pit procedure the way it is. There’s no room and there’s no protection for any of the crew members at all.”

NASCAR spokesman Jason Cunningham released the following statement.

“There was an incident and the one person that was injured was treated and released on sight,” Cunningham said. “It was certainly an unfortunate scenario. Safety is always at the forefront of running an event, and we will continue to look at all venues the Tour visits in that regard.”

Benoit is a member of the Tinio Racing team for which Bobby Santos drives. He declined a trip to a local hospital and stayed at the track to see Santos pull off the win.

“They put me in the ambulance and they wanted me to go get an X-ray,” Benoit said. “I said … No we are going to win this race. I ain’t going anywhere.”

The video of incident can be viewed below.