According to witnesses at the scene at least one fan suffered fatal injuries, although as of Saturday no official confirmation had been made.
Daytona president Joie Chitwood said that 14 people were transported off the property while 14 were treated on site. The injured were taken to at least three area hospitals; none of them were reporting any fatal injuries. 11 of those injured were taken to nearby Halifax Hospital and a spokesperson there said two patients were critical. The rest were all deemed ‘stable’.
The incident happened in the final lap of the 120 lap race as the field charged to the checkered flag. Two cars got together causing a chain reaction crash. The car of driver Kyle Larson spun into the fence along the front stretch ripping off the front of the car when it hit a crossover gate. Several parts including the engine and at least one tire ended up on the inside of the fence. Another tire flew into the stands.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with our race fans,” Chitwood said in a brief press conference. “Following the incident, we responded appropriately according to our safety protocols and had emergency medical personnel at the incident immediately.”
Earlier in the race another multi-car crash injured driver Michael Annett who was taken to a local hospital. He was characterized as awake and alert.
Tony Stewart was declared the winner of the event, but in victory lane his thoughts were clearly on those involved in the incident.
"We've always known this is a dangerous sport," Stewart said. 'But it's hard when the fans get caught up in it."
Chitwood said crews would repair the area although the crossover gate would be replaced with straight fencing. He added that the 55th running of the Daytona 500 would run as scheduled. The area involved in Saturday’s accident would be reopened to fans.