Updated 09/08/2012 11:19 AM
Stock car racer dies after tree falls on him
A local stock car racer died after a tree he was cutting fell on him at his home in Coeymans. Our Erin Vannella talked to those who knew the young man and tells us he was as good of a man, as he was a racer.
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WEST LEBANON, N.Y. -- "I've seen people pass," said Lebanon Valley Speedway owner Howie Commander. "This one hurts. This one hurts a lot."
JC Flach, 29, had just won his first feature. He was getting married in November. He was racing toward local speedway stardom. But he died Thursday night in a tragic backyard accident while cutting down a tree.
"He was just the kind of boy that is a 10 out of a 10," said Commander. "And he is the kind of boy that everybody here loved."
Commander watched Flach grow up and considered him a friend of the track. Others who knew him say while a career in racing was his livelihood and passion, his family was his true love.
"He's got a wonderful family, a great mother, a great father and we're all going to miss him," said Commander.
"You're in a racing family," said Fonda resident Stephanie Gerlach. "Everyone is family and it's a horrible loss. Such a young kid and I'm sure he had great opportunities ahead of him."
"It makes you realize how fragile things are," said Malta resident John Conway. "It reminds you not to take everyday for granted cause you don't know what tomorrow is going to bring."
"We will always know him to be a great and caring guy," said Altamont resident Preston Filkins. "He won this year but was also very supportive to his family and fiance Nicole."
A flag flies at half staff at the track. Saturday, drivers will stand shoulder to shoulder helmets over heart in Flach's honor. Racing won't be the same without him, Commander said. He made too good an impression to be forgotten.
"This has moved me," said Commander. "I've not been good all day and I won't be for a while. It's just sad. The whole thing is sad."