Fans Injured As Car Slams Fence At Daytona
Tony Stewart was in no mood to celebrate after he won Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300 Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Not with 14 fans injured and being transported to medical centers as a result of a last lap crash that sent the car of Kyle Larson flying into the catchfence near the start/finish line.
The wreck tore Larson’s car in half. The engine ended up on the grandstand side of the concrete retaining wall. A tire flew up further into the grandstand.
More debris and hot liquids from the engine showered the area around the place where the car struck and ripped a hole in the fence.
During a press conference early Saturday evening, NASCAR and track officials announced that they could not comment on the severity of the injuries to fans and had very little to say about the incident.
Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood said, “We expect to go racing tomorrow with no changes.”
As Stewart dodged the crash and crossed the finish line, the front clip of Larson’s car sheared off, ripping the engine out of its compartment. The front suspension and engine ended up on the walkway at the bottom of the stands.
Regan Smith led as the cars approached the checkered flag, but Smith tried to block Brad Keselowski, who was running second, and turned across the nose of Keselowski’s car.
Smith said he wasn’t about to surrender the victory to Keselowski 200 yards from the finish line.
“We made a move to try and win the race,” Keselowski said. “We were in the catbird seat. Regan was in a good spot. He was first and I was second, and we were pushing. I kind of had the run and the move to win the race, and Regan obviously tried to block it, and that’s understandable.
Sam Hornish Jr. crossed the stripe in second place, followed by rookie Alex Bowman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Parker Kligerman.
The emergency in the grandstand tempered Stewart’s fifth victory in his last six February races at Daytona and the 11th Nationwide Series win of his career.
“Fortunately, with the way the event’s equipped up, there were plenty of emergency workers ready to go, and they jumped in on it pretty quickly,” NASCAR president Mike Helton told ESPN. “And right now, it’s just a function of trying to determine what all damage is done.
“They’re moving folks, as we’ve seen, to care centers and taking some folks over to Halifax Medical (Center), so we’ll be able to update later on, but right now, all we know is everybody’s working real hard on determining what all happened.”
Larson climbed from his car almost immediately and was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
In addition to the 14 fans who were transported to local hospitals, 14 more were treated on-side.One Comment