28 injured in Daytona crash
What started out as just another day at the track ended in a disastrous crash, calling NASCAR safety precautions into question just as the season is underway.
28 people were injured in the massive crash at the Nationwide race at the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. Track officials give the official count at 28, although some sources report that upwards of 30 fans were injured during the race.
Everything was fine up until the end of the race. Driver Kyle Larson lost control as his car was launched into the fence keeping fans safe from debris. It was not enough this time as Larson’s car broke apart tossing debris into and over the fence into the crowd of fans watching the race.
President Joie Chitwood reported that 14 fans were transported to a hospital, while 14 others were treated at the track facilities. Chitwood sent out his thoughts to the injured fans, however he also reports that the season will begin as originally planned.
“First and foremost our thoughts and prayers are with our race fans,” Chitwood read from a prepared statement Saturday night. “Following the incident we responded appropriately according to our safety protocols, and had emergency medical personnel at the incident immediately. … We’re in the process of repairing the facility and will be ready to go racing tomorrow.”
NASCAR officials will review the crash and decide what to do going forward. Crashes at NASCAR events are common occurrences, but fans must remain safe from flying debris otherwise there exists a great risk in a simple day at the track.
“I think we look at this after every incident,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “We’ve learned in the past certain protocols put in place today are a result of prior incidents. Again, our initial evaluation is still ongoing. But it’s certainly something we’ll look at. If we can improve upon it, we’ll certainly put that in play as soon as we can.”
For now the Daytona 500 race on Sunday will go as originally planned, however NASCAR had better find a solution in revising their safety precautions otherwise their fan base may decline out of fear. While there is a risk involved in any sporting event, the stakes are a bit higher when it involves cars moving upwards of 100mph.