ROCKINGHAM, N.C. - Three Army skydivers were injured Sunday when strong wind knocked them to the ground before a NASCAR race. A group of eight jumpers from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Parachute team from Fort Bragg came sailing into the track area, trailing red smoke as part of the pre-race activities for the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway.
With wind up to 40 mph, one jumper was carried away from his targeted landing on the track and into the infield, where he appeared to bounce off the top of a tractor-trailer before landing on the ground, his chute caught on the antenna of a van.
He was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte and was in good condition, a nursing administrator said.
The hospital did not provide the soldier's name. Messages for spokesmen with the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg were not immediately returned.
Another jumper sailed into the garage area and bounced off the top of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s hauler. He landed between race team trucks and a fence.
That jumper, as well as a third who landed hard on the asphalt of the track, were taken to Womack Army Hospital in Fayetteville for treatment of minor injuries. The hospital did not immediately return calls.
Track personnel did not immediately have their names or any other information about the injured soldiers.
At least two jumpers nailed their landings on the front stretch of the race track. Another skydiver never made it to the track, landing outside the Turn 1 grandstands.
~ Associated Press