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scra: George Gervais dies after long battle

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scra: George Gervais dies after long battle
Mar 9, 2002, 3:03 AM

LAKEWOOD, CA, March 8, 2002 - Popular sprint car driver "Big" George Gervais (Mira Loma, CA), who sustained injuries on July 28th at the Perris Auto Speedway (Perris, CA), died Friday in a Redlands rehabilitation center from respiratory ...

LAKEWOOD, CA, March 8, 2002 - Popular sprint car driver "Big" George Gervais (Mira Loma, CA), who sustained injuries on July 28th at the Perris Auto Speedway (Perris, CA), died Friday in a Redlands rehabilitation center from respiratory complications related to pneumonia. He was 41 years old.

Just before the accident, Gervais was in the process of having one the most impressive performances of his career. After a sensational 12th to second place drive in the 8 lap C-Main Event, Gervais started at the back of the second heat race and was battling hard with another driver for the final transfer spot when they touched wheels on the final lap. Gervais' car was vaulted into a vicious series of flips along the backstraight. Sadly, he would never regain consciousness.

Gervais made his first of 79 appearances with the Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) on November 22, 1997 at Perris. During the 2000 season, Gervais competed in 36 SCRA races and finished 26th in series points.

He qualified for his first main event on June 20, 2000 at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas and finished 13th. Five days later, Gervais went to 81 Speedway in Wichita and posted his first top ten finish. Later that year, Gervais was named the Non-Winged World Championship (NWWC) Rookie of the Year.

In 2001, Gervais posted a career best 7th place finish at Ventura Raceway (Ventura, CA) on May 5th and was ranked 16th in SCRA points when the accident occurred. Gervais' death is the first fatality in the nine-year history of the SCRA. Gervais is survived by his wife, Kim, daughters, Amber (15) and Alexandria (11), and his parents Betty and George.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Donations may be sent to The "Big" George Recovery Fund at the Temecula Valley Bank, 41500 Ivy Street, Murrietta, CA 92562.

-scra/gm-

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