Deadly crash at Wisconsin International Raceway leaves community shaken

NEAR KAUKAUNA, Wis. - The racing community in Northeast Wisconsin continued to mourn the loss of driver Jeff Wohlrabe Monday, who died in an accident at Wisconsin International Raceway Friday.

Wohlrabe, 43, was killed when his car collided with another driver's during a figure-8 race. The race was a part of an annual event called "Eve of Destruction" where figure-8 drivers cross paths at high speeds.

Wohlrabe was crossing in the center when a car struck him on the passenger side, the Outagamie County Sheriff's Department said.

Wohlrabe's friend Ron Kohl was watching from the stands.

"It's not something I ever want to experience again in my life," he said.

Kohl described Wohlrabe as an optimistic person who made others around him smile.

"He always had something positive to say, and whether he finished the race or won the race or didn't finish the race, because of a flat tire or he broke something, he was always that happy-go-lucky guy," Kohl said.

Even though cars are crossing at high speeds, it's normally a safe event, the sheriff's department said. 

"We don't often experience fatals at this event," said Sgt. Nathan Borman with the Outagame County Sheriff's Department. "It's a big family event, a lot of different racing that's going on, different shows, so it's very popular in the area. This was one of those tragic incidents." 

Some investigation is ongoing, but Sgt. Borman said the crash has been ruled an accident. 

NBC26 did reach out to the racetrack, and representatives said they're still taking everything in and are doing what they can to help Wohlrabe's family.


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