DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The daughter of the man killed in a crash at Daytona International Speedway memorialized her father to FOX 35 News.
Mark Mathys, 62, died Saturday during a practice session for an International GT race. Daytona Beach police's incident report said Mathys had mechanical trouble and tried to get down to the apron of the race track when he was hit.
Kecia Mathys-Frye, the man's daughter, said her father loved racing but loved his family even more.
"[He was] hard-working, intelligent, and kind-hearted," Mathys-Frye said.
Mathys-Frye said she was at work when she found out about the crash from her sister. Mathys-Frye said her father needed to be cut out of the car,
"I knew before it was even confirmed that he was gone," Mathys-Frye said.
Mathys was racing at Daytona from Ohio. Mathys-Frye said the family was left in shock.
"We never anticipated that this was going to be the race where he lost his life," Mathys-Frye said.
Mathys was an experienced racer. Mathys-Frye shared photos with FOX 35. One of them showed her father on the top step of the podium after winning an International GT race at Road America in Wisconsin.
International GT honored him with a tribute online, calling him "a true sportsman and a loving family man."
The series said the races went on Sunday and were dedicated to Mathys. The group said online his family requested race weekend continue.
Mathys-Frye said her father once broke his back on a motorcycle. She said doctors told him he'd never walk again, but Mathys didn't let him stop him.
"Racing, planes, boats, you name it," Mathys-Frye said. "He was always onto the next big thing and living life in the fast lane."
Even with his knack for speed, Mathys, who was a self-made businessman, was about to ease into retirement.
"Life is not promised, and you never know when your next day is going to be, so hold your loved ones tight," Mathys-Frye said.
According to International GT, the other driver in the crash, identified by the group as Marcel Fayen, "has a long, long road to recovery."