A pit crew member with NASCAR has been killed in a car accident in Florida alongside his wife, leaving the NASCAR community reeling.
30-year-old William “Rowdy” Harrell, a tire carrier with Hendrick Motorsports for the last eight seasons, was honeymooning with his wife, 23-year-old Blakely, in the Florida Keys just three days after their wedding. The crash occurred at approximately 9:40 p.m. when Harrell passed over a centerline on the U.S. 1 near Lower Matecumbe Key in the 2020 Toyota Corolla that he was driving, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. His vehicle collided with a 2013 Ford F-250 pickup truck head-on, despite the 62-year-old truck driver attempting to avoid the collision by driving onto the shoulder of the road. The man and his two female passengers sustained minor injuries. Sadly, Harrell and his wife were pronounced dead at the scene.
Condolences began pouring in as the news of the couple’s deaths spread throughout the NASCAR community.
“Our entire team is absolutely devastated at the loss of Rowdy and Blakley. They were such positive, giving and passionate people who could not have been a more perfect match. Rowdy had an energetic and infectious personality. He was the heart and soul of our team and always kept us motivated, no matter the circumstance. Rowdy shared his love with the people around him and was loved in return. Although he will be greatly missed, his memory will continue to inspire us always. Our prayers are with Rowdy, Blakley and their wonderful family,” No. 88 crew chief Greg Ives said in a statement on Wednesday.
Recently, Harrell worked with the No. 88 in the NASCAR Cup Series for driver Alex Bowman.
“Rowdy was everything that made the 88 team, the 88 team,” Bowman tweeted Wednesday. “The biggest personality and the best person. He was the happiest person you’d ever meet, and that was only reinforced by his wife Blakley. Rip to an absolute legend. You’ll be missed every single day brother.”
Kevin Hamlin, a spotter for the No. 88 team, also shared kind words about his friend and co-worker on Twitter.
“Rowdy was one of the most happy, kindest souls I’d ever met and one of the greatest on pit road. I feel so terrible for his and Blakley’s families, and this team won’t be the same without them.”
Authorities are investigating whether or not alcohol played a factor in the crash. Everyone involved in the wreck was wearing seatbelts.