24 Hours of LeMons: Racer dies during Carolina Motorsports Park race


A driver died last Saturday while racing in the 24 Hours of LeMons South Fall race at Carolina Motorsports Park. According to a mass email sent from LeMons’ headquarters, the Kershaw County Coroner’s Office determined the cause of death to be a massive coronary event, according to the email (later posted to the series’ Facebook page). The car and personal safety equipment all worked as intended and “appeared intact and functional,” the message added.

South Carolina’s The State news site reports the driver was Sidney Brayton, 63, of Norcross, Ga. He was a regular team member of the #22 Roper Road Racing team, who have run a Honda Civic at several Lemons and ChumpCar World Series events.

Kelly Ott, one of Brayton’s Roper Road teammates, wrote on the LeMons Forum that Sidney had raced circle-track events in New Hampshire in the 1970s, had raced club events, and had more recently run a Honda CRX on some of Georgia’s paved ovals.

Brayton got hooked on crapcan racing after attending a ChumpCar race at Roebling Road in 2011 and ran six weekends with Roper Road Racing. In every racing he’d ever done, Sidney’s entry always carried the numeral 2 in some form or another, hence Roper Road’s Civic #22 on its doors.

Race organizers halted the race immediately after the incident. Racing resumed Sunday afternoon with many teams bearing an impromptu #22 stencil in an act of solidarity for Brayton and his teammates. LeMons racers also took up a collection in the paddock to help cover the the cost of arrangements with LeMons HQ matching the amount raised.

We at Hooniverse extend our deepest sympathies to Sidney Brayton’s family, friends, and teammates and will keep them in our thoughts.

Edit: I apologize sincerely for misspelling the name as “Sydney.” The correct spelling is “Sidney.” There is no excuse for that kind of carelessness.

[Photo: Mark Barnes via Facebook]

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19 responses to “24 Hours of LeMons: Racer dies during Carolina Motorsports Park race”

  1. $kaycog Avatar

    His life ended while he was doing something he loved. RIP, Sydney Brayton.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Aerobatic stunt pilot Patty Wagstaff once said that in the event of a tragic demise, she hoped no one would ever trivialize her death by saying she died doing what she loved. That has always stuck with me.

      1. nanoop Avatar

        So what should people say?

        1. Clegko Avatar

          Died having a hell of a lot of fun, maybe.

        2. Tanshanomi Avatar

          How about "that's tragic" and leave it at that.

      2. $kaycog Avatar

        Please know that I didn't intend to trivialize.

        1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
          Jeff Glucker

          we know… don't you worry your lovely GT heart at all

          1. $kaycog Avatar

            Thank you for that.

      3. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
        C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

        In the long-distance motorcycle community, years ago, one of the serious big dogs of the 'hobby', Ron Major, had something very similar happen. His ST1100 was found, leaning up against a guardrail in Arizona. He was nowhere to be found, and hand't called anyone to say he was okay.
        Found him a day later, off the side of the road, about 1/2 a mile before the bike's final stopping point. Cardiac arrest was the cause.
        Yes, he was doing what he loved, but he still died suddenly, without getting to say "goodbye".

      4. busted cam Avatar
        busted cam

        We don't want to loose track of honoring the life of an individual by searching for scapegoats around their death. I've always understood that saying to be a way of averting the blame game, but mortality is a touchy subject and we all react a bit differently.
        We can probably agree that the sentiment and best wished for family and friends is shared around this community, even if we can't agree on how exactly to articulate that.

        1. Tanshanomi Avatar

          I understand that people are trying to comfort, but "he died doing what he loved" can sound hurtfully dismissive and cavalier to those who are mourning, as if that somehow should mitigate the unbelievable pain they are enduring. When you lose someone, being told "eh, it's really not all bad" is the last thing you want to hear.

  2. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Condolences to his family, friends and team mates.

  3. nanoop Avatar

    Having been more close to death in my life than I actually wanted, I am sorry for friends and friendly relatives, but I dig his style to pass away while doing something fun, surrounded by (until then cheerful) racing aficionados.
    Very often, you die miserably, surrounded by sad people you love, who might have preferred the power of surprise!
    Cherish whatever you have, be it ambitions, and be aware of this certain threshold towards infinity.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      I can tell you quite emphatically that being "surprised" by the sudden death of a loved one is in no way "preferable."

      1. nanoop Avatar

        Maybe I was too general, sorry. This is a highly personal topic, and of course I'm not to decide "what's best for you".
        I think we'll agree that death sucks either way.

  4. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar
    Scandinavian Flick ★

    The stencil and paddock collection plate really say a lot about what kind of community this event has. It's always hard to deal with loss, but hopefully some solace can be found in the support of those who were close to the deceased and his family.

  5. MVEilenstein Avatar

    Godspeed, Sidney.

  6. Bev O'Hara Avatar
    Bev O'Hara

    I am Sid's sister and believe me when I say none of my family has taken the comments and outpouring in any way except as it was intended, to comfort and give support. Sid did die doing something he loved. We will miss Sid greatly, but to know that he was involved with the caring and wonderful people of 24 Hours of LeMons gives us some peace of mind. Nothing will ever bring Sid back, but his daughter saw the huge smile on his face when he got out of the car during his first segment. He was happy and probably had a smile on his face right up until he took his last breathe. How many people can say that. Yes, he was taken too early, but I would rather that he went that way instead of a painful or slow death as some of other relatives had.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Thank you Bev