February 25, 2013
Catastrophe At Daytona: Fans Injured As Debris Flies Into Stands
A horrific crash happened on the last lap of Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Daytona involving twelve cars. Upon the aftermath of the incident fourteen fans were transported off the property and taken to area hospitals, and fourteen others were treated by medical personal at the speedway, after debris from Kyle Larson‘s car flew into the stands. It was noted on a post race show on speed that of the fourteen fans that were transported seven had trauma injuries, two were critical with one being a minor.
The incident occurred as the cars exited turn four on their way to the checkered flag, when Reagan Smith, the leader, and Brad Keselowski, who was running second bumped. As a result Smith’s car spun into the wall and the pack of cars behind began to spin and crash becoming entangled with each other creating a smoke filled front stretch. During the incident, Kyle Larson’s car went airborne and into the catch fence.
Debris flew from his car scattering fans in the lower seats of the grand stand. But tragedy was inevitable as some of the fans could not escape the flying car parts. The engine and one of the front tires of Kyle’s demolished machine lay resting amidst the broken fence. The other front tire with brake rotor and spindle still attached soared many rows back, crashing into the fan-filled seats.
When Kyle’s race car finally settled to a stop, the only thing left was a mangled cockpit. The front and rear of the machine was gone. He pulled his window net down, that is as a sign used in racing after a crash that the drive is okay. He climbed out and took a mandatory trip to the infield care center of the track.
He had this to say, “Hopefully, all the fans and drivers are OK,” Larson said. “I was getting pushed from behind. By the time my spotter said, ‘Lift,’ it was too late. I had some flames come in the cockpit. Luckily, I was all right and could get out of the car quickly.”
Although Tony Stewart was the winner of the race, his mood was less then cheerful from the events of the last lap. He had this to say, “The important thing is what’s going on, on the front stretch right now,” Stewart said. “We’ve always known since racing was started this is a dangerous sport. We assume that risk. It’s hard when the fans get caught up in it. I could see it in the mirror, and it didn’t look good.
All of the drivers involved in the crash were uninjured. Five laps previous to this incident, another major crash occurred in turn one. Michael Annett’s car came in contact with Austin Dillon’s car, causing both machines to hit the wall, bunching up the cars behind with many others also crashing. Annett was transported to the local hospital for evaluation, with bruises on his chest. He was awake and alert, but will be kept overnight for observation.
The repairs to the track were completed for the Daytona 500 race on Sunday.