Rob Partelo raced stock cars semi-professionally for years and now has two kids who race; one races go-karts, the other, a mini cup car.
St. Petersburg, Florida -- Rob Partelo builds stock cars and has raced them semi-professionally for years.
"The first time I strapped into a car and actually made my first laps, I was hooked," he says.
For Partelo now, racing is a family affair. 8-year-old Sierra drives go-karts and 11-year-old Cole competes in a mini cup car. And safety's a big concern.
"My son's safety, or my daughter's, is more important than my own," says Partelo.
But Saturday's crash at Auburndale Speedway has racers and non-racers alike talking about racing safety and danger. Tyler Morr, 12, was severely injured when he ran into a wall and his recovery is uncertain.
The crash has left the racing community shaken.
"I instantly felt sick to my stomach," says Partelo, upon hearing of the accident.
Partelo says when it comes to safety, parents need to be in the driver's seat. Official requirements vary from track to track and Partelo encourages families to go above and beyond.
For example, Cole's next car has extra roll bars.
"I plan on having the freak accident that everybody says will never happen. I want everything in that car as safe as possible," says Partelo.
Unlike some cars, Cole's Kids Club car will also have a head rest on the left side.
"You need something keeping your head inside the car," he says.
And then there's the other gear -- a quality fire suit, a car racing helmet and a HANS device -- to stabilize the driver's head and neck.
"This is a must have with kids," says Partelo, holding the support.
Yes, Partelo says, racing can be dangerous and it is up to parents to make it less so. He advises, "Minimize all risks."