The plane reportedly was on its way from Warsaw, IN, to Clemson, SC, to catch a Notre Dame college football game there when the Piper PA-32 went down near the state border between Georgia and South Carolina. On board the plane with Elliott were Charles D. Smith, 71, a councilman and former high school football coach; his 54-year-old son Scott A. Smith, an attorney; and Scott D. Bibler, 51, also a former high school football coach.
A veteran racing driver, Tony Elliott won the national championship in 1998 and 2000, along with 26 sprint-car race wins as well as many others. Tony also headed Elliott's Customer Trailers, which sponsored other racing drivers, and was touted as a top ambassador for USAC and for sprint car racing. The USAC put out the following statement about the crash. Our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of the departed.
It is with deep sadness that we have learned of the death of Tony Elliott and three others in a plane crash in South Carolina last night. Elliott, one of USAC's greatest ambassadors, was a two-time USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1998 and 2000) and scored 26 Sprint victories plus nine in Midgets and five in Silver Crown competition. The 2000 and 2001 Hoosier Hundred winner, his "traditional" wins also included the 1999 "Ted Horn 100" at DuQuoin, the 1998 and 2000 "Sumar "Classic" at Terre Haute, the 1998 "Hurtubise Classic" Sprint at Terre Haute and "4-Crown Nationals" Sprint races in 1987 and 1993 at Eldora Speedway. He also was the 1999 Indiana Sprint Week Champion. A sponsor and supporter of both USAC participants and events with his company, Elliott's Custom Trailers, he was still a familiar face at many USAC racing events throughout the season, including last weekend's "4-Crown Nationals" at the Eldora Speedway. USAC extends its sincerest condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed by all. He was 54.