More than two dozen NASCAR spectators were injured Saturday when a car crashed into the fence and sent car parts hurling into the stands at Daytona, officials said in a news conference. The multi-car accident hit on the last lap of the Nationwide Series opener, a day before the Daytona 500.
The Associated Press reports:
“Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood says, ‘We’ll be ready to go racing’ and is confident the track will be repaired in time Sunday for the Daytona 500.”
NASCAR.com says the engine and tires of driver Kyle Larson’s car went through the catchfence. The article says Larson, 20, “emerged uninjured from a vehicle that had its front and rear ends completely sheared off by the accident.”
Deadspin.com has been collecting tweets and videos from people in the stands, including a clip that shows where a tire landed in the crowd. NASCAR also posted a video of the last two laps, with the crash happening at the very end:
Chitwood says the fence will be repaired for Sunday’s race, and there are no plans to move fans from that area, the AP reports.
On Friday, NPR’s Bill Chappell looked ahead to the Daytona 500. He noted that safety restrictions put the cars in packs now to regulate the cars’ speeds:
“The tendency to clump together makes it hard for one driver to break away — and it also means that a slight error, or an impatient nudge, can spark an eight-car pileup that redraws the leader board.”
Sunday’s race had also been drawing attention because of Danica Patrick, who became the first woman to win the No. 1 starting slot.