NASCAR To Continue Despite Horrific Saturday Accident At Daytona, Approximately 30 People Injured After Vehicle Breaks Apart

So long as the weather allows, NASCAR will go ahead as schedule despite the horrific crash involving multiple cars – Saturday afternoon at the Daytona International Speedway that injured about 30 people.

Joie Chitwood III, president of Daytona International Speedway, said he and others met with the NASCAR officials and worked late into the night to prepare for the racing today.

On the last lap of NASCAR’s Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300, the accident sent debris past and into a safety fence and grandstand.

Chitwood said 14 people were transported to local area hospitals by ambulance and 14 were treated at the race track. According to some reports, there were 33 accident victims, which Chitwood said that some fans might have taken themselves to the hospitals. Some fans were treated for other non-crash related illnesses such as being overcome by heat.

He said the guest services department at the track helped all released fans get in touch with their friends and family, and with some cases, given a ride back to Orlando.

The accident occurred when the vehicle Kyle Larson was driving broke apart and others had spun out of control. A 14-year-old boy, listed in critical but stable condition, injured and a man with a life-threatening head injury underwent surgery.

Terry Huckaby, a spectator, said all kinds of things were flying by – tires and everything. His brother suffered a leg injury and was taken to the hospital.

Tony Stewart ended up winning the event, which is regarded as the curtain-raiser for Daytona 500, where Danica Patrick will be the first woman ever to be on the pole position.

How Did The Wreck Happen

The Saturday wreck occurred when driver Regan Smith tried to block another driver when they neared the checkered flag and hit the other vehicle.

Smith said he takes complete blame for the incident, saying he threw the block and it just didn’t work out the way he had planned. He said he hopes everybody involved in the wreck and the fans are doing okay.

Larson’s vehicle went airborne because of the crash, ripping its engine out. However, Larson managed to climb out of the mangled vehicle, unscathed. Larson said it felt like he was pushed from behind.

Those injured were taken to Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center and Halifax Health Medical Center.

According to Steve O’Donnell, vice president of race operations for NASCAR, said the fencing would be replaced and the incident carefully scrutinized.

It’s quite rare for spectators to become injured during the races; but, it has happened. In 2009, nine fans were injured after Carl Edwards’ vehicle slammed into the fencing at Talladega. A decade earlier, three people were killed in Charlotte, North Carolina during the IndyCar Series and, in 1998, three were killed in Michigan during the CART’s U.S. 500.

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Posted by on Feb 25 2013. Filed under New, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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