More than a dozen fans were injured at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday afternoon when a dramatic last-lap crash in the Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 sent the front end of rookie Kyle Larson’s car into the grandstand area.
The wreck began when Regan Smith put a block on Brad Keselowski as the cars were coming to the checkered flag. As Smith’s Chevrolet Camaro came down across the nose of Keselowski’s Ford Mustang, mayhem followed; Larson’s Chevrolet got airborne and caught the frontstretch catchfence, sending his engine and front suspension through the fence and into the grandstand area. Larson’s car was sheared off at the firewall; Larson and all other drivers in the accident were cleared by the infield care center.
Joe Gibbs Racing had a difficult day at Daytona, beginning with Kyle Busch’s engine problems that took him out of the race on Lap 100; the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry finished 32nd. Brian Vickers, making his debut in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota, had problems with overheating, putting him two laps down in the late portion of the race; he finished 19th. The best chances for JGR on Saturday came from Elliott Sadler in the No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota – which also had overheating problems – and Matt Kenseth in the No. 18 GameStop Toyota: they finished 15th and 16th, respectively, following the last-lap wreck.
Tony Stewart won the race, followed by Sam Hornish Jr., Alex Bowman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Parker Kligerman.
Statement from Joie Chitwood III, President of Daytona International Speedway:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our race fans. Following the incident we responded appropriately according to our safety protocols, and had emergency medical personnel at the incident immediately. We transported 14 people off property and treated 14 people at our on-track care center. We're in the process of repairing the facility and will be ready to go racing tomorrow.”
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