Zack Diamond

Zachary Diamond. 

An altercation in the pits at Bakersfield Speedway on Saturday night has left one person hospitalized and another arrested.

Zachary Diamond of Bakersfield remains hospitalized at Kern Medical Center and is unresponsive, according to his mother, Linda Valdez. Diamond was allegedly assaulted by Kyle Flippo, who was later arrested on assault charges, sheriff's Sgt. Doug Sword said Tuesday. The Kern County Jail website shows Flippo is no longer in custody.

Neither Diamond nor Flippo are drivers.

Diamond, 20, is the brother of Jacob Diamond, Valdez’s other son, who finished sixth in a Mod Lites feature race at the track. Danny Valdez, Linda’s husband, finished second in the race.

Flippo is the father of Jerry Flippo, who finished fourth.

“He’s not in a coma, but unresponsive for the most part,” Valdez said of her son. “He’s got a right-side skull fracture and bleeding from the right ear and a bleeding hemorrhage on the left side of his brain. He responds if you say his name but does not respond to commands.

“He’s in God’s hands.”

The incident happened near the technical inspection area where the top finishers go following the race.

Diamond and his family and the family of Flippo got into an altercation over something to do with the race, Sword said. During the incident, Flippo hit Diamond, apparently with his fist, and Diamond fell and was unconscious, Sword said.

Diamond was attended to at the track before being transported by ambulance to the hospital.

Deputies were called to the Speedway at 9:11 p.m.

Sword said there were no other arrests he was aware of in connection with the incident.

“From what I understand, there were words exchanged between the two teams for whatever reason I have no idea,” said Speedway owner Scott Schweitzer, who watched the race from the opposite end of the track. "Our official down there reported it and it happened so fast that by the time our other officials and security got down there it was over.

“What took place is sickening and uncalled for.”

Schweitzer said the track does not tolerate physical altercations and that anyone who throws a punch is suspended from the track for a year.

"I get that racing gets intense and people have a lot of money invested, but there is absolutely no reason for physical retaliation on the facility," Schweitzer said. "(Fighting) is the last thing we are trying to promote."

Mike Griffith can be reached at 661 395-7390. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeGriffith54.

(1) comment


Hi Mike!!

I tried reaching out via comments on Facebook and messenger to try to see if we could get Zach’s gofundme added to one of your stories? I’m having difficulty getting it shared and Zach will be in the hospital for recovery for a undetermined amount of time. He’s currently still very injured and also having to learn things all over again like a baby. Below is what I wrote:

Hi There!!! I know that the mother is leery about speaking to the press due to the charges filed on the person who hit her son, but I’m still hoping that you can help me to get the word out on his GoFundMe? I’ve noticed that only has been made aware of the incident and I know how much the injured 20 year old will need the help. He’s got a very long road to recovery. Please see below posts that I’ve been posting everywhere.

“Hello family, friends, and kind strangers! My name is Kristen White and I am a long time friend of Linda Wilkins Valdez, mother to the recently injured, Zach Diamond. Myself and
Meg L Heslin Manson are working together to help this family in their time of need.

Linda’s 20 year old son, Zach, was recently physically assaulted for defending his mother during a verbal altercation with another man after a race at the Bakersfield Speedway (article link included). As Zach was trying to help his mom, he was hit in the head causing a skull fracture, hemorrhaging and swelling. Zach has been in the hospital since Saturday, June 9th. Originally in a coma and now in rehab to learn everything all over again. Walking, talking, etc... (Updates have been added to the GoFundMe campaign)

As any parent would, his mother, Linda and stepfather, Danny, have been at the hospital by his side ever since. As they, and Zach, are not able to work during this time and the mounting medical bills coming their way, we are working to try to get funds together to allow them to focus on what matters most right now - their son. Per Linda, ALL proceeds will go into Zach’s account for his everyday life bills (that he cannot work to support right now) and all of the medical bills that will be mounting. We’re so thankful for the prayers from all of you and to those who have donated! Please remember, even if it’s just $5 (gofundme’s minimum limit) that’s going to add up and help Zach tremendously!!! Please, please, please find it in your hearts to help! He still has a long road to recovery so the funds received are SUPER helpful in his time of need

All donations will be used to cover medical and living expenses.
With Linda as the beneficiary to this campaign, she will have direct access to all donations.

Every little bit helps but if you are unable to donate financially, we simply ask that you join us in prayers for their family, the doctors and nurses working to save Zach’s life and above all else, Zach’s healing.

Thank you!
#ZachStrong #DonateZach #Prayers4Zach”

GoFundMe Link:

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