MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Fifteen-year-old Niokoa Johnson was killed after her race car slammed into a concrete barrier at an Ocala racetrack Saturday night.
Now another local racing family wants to use her case to spark safety changes nationwide. They spoke with Eyewitness News anchor Nancy Alvarez about their new mission.
For the racing community Niokoa's death is heartbreaking, but for race car driver Jake Perkins
"We assume the risk when we get behind the wheel of a race car, but it's very sad when something like this happens," said Perkins.
Perkins said he has been racing since he was 8 years old. He said he knows the excitement Niokoa felt her first time behind the wheel and he knows the risks.
"My dad's a dentist and we didn't know the first thing about racing. And so these families who are just getting into it have no means of knowing
He said their plan is to create uniformed safety guidelines for amateur tracks
"We're going to bring the resource to the drivers and racing families so they have a means of what they can do to be as safe as possible," said Perkins.
That also includes partnerships with companies that make the safety features common in race cars.
The Safe Racer Project will offer scholarships to help families with equipment that can cost thousands of dollars.
"You can't put a price on safety and you shouldn't be on the track if you don't have the proper equipment," said Perkins.