Daytona Beach, Fla was left in a horrified state today as fans were in shock after 28 fans were hit with debris as Kyle Larson's Chevrolet went airborne. This gruesome crash left at least two people seriously injured and fans and NASCAR in a state of shock.
Some of the questions the fans put before NASCAR about safety after the incident were met with nothing less than a determined and somewhat stiff-necked sounding response that their safety measures are “up-to-snuff”, and they have no plans to change anything before Sunday's Daytona 500.
The only thing they plan to do is conduct a safety review of Larson's car and the fencing and replace the damaged fencing from today's crash. The races are set to go on as planned for tomorrow. This is not the answer some wanted as today's vicious crash left fans insufficiently protected. Of the 28 injured at least half were taken to hospitals to be treated, and the rest were treated at the track.
Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood was quoted by USA TODAY as saying,
“'We don't anticipate moving any fans,' Chitwood said. 'We had our safety protocols in place. Our security maintained a buffer that separates the fans from the fencing area. With the fence being repaired tonight to our safety protocols, we expect to go racing tomorrow with no changes.'”
The somber mood that swept over the place gave way to canceling all of the media center interviews with the drivers who were said to be very concerned for the fans.
Race winner Tony Stewart showed his compassion for the injured in his short victory statement.
"'We've always known since racing was started this was a dangerous sport, but we assume that risk, and it's hard when the fans get caught up in it,'" (USA TODAY)
Nearly 20 people in all reportedly went to the hospital for injuries related to the crash and heat exhaustion from today's races. All of the drivers were treated and released except for Michael Annett who had been taken to the hospital after he was injured in an earlier crash.
To NASCAR'S credit they have been making a concerted effort to improve the safety of the sport over the past decade, but obviously it could not prevent today's tragedy.
Our hearts go out to all who were injured and we pray for their speedy recovery.
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