Speedway to review crash that injured fans
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Daytona International Speedway promises the ultimate fan experience, but at the finish line at Saturdays race, it was anything but.
"Daytona racetrack -- there's two seriously injured people here, OK?" a 911 caller said. "We've been calling for paramedics and no one has showed up. We need help quick."
Dozens of fans were injured, some critically, after being hit by flying car parts that were supposed to be held inside the track by a catch fence.
"Following an incident like this, we have to look at what actually happened and what to do with it," Speedway president Joie Chitwood said.
He said NASCAR is conducting a full review to find out why a tire and an engine penetrated the fence and flew into the stands. Chitwood said the catch fence was constructed by on-sight Speedway engineers in 2010 after a similar accident at Talladega Superspeedway.
"In 2009, we had an issue with Carl Edwards getting into the fence, and following that, we had an engineer come in and do a structural review and decided under his recommendation to replace all the fencing in Daytona that occurred prior to the 2010 season," Chitwood said.
He wouldn't say how long the review process would take. Race fans who witnessed it all say accidents are inevitable.
"You got to be naive to think that something that weighs 3,000 pounds going 200 mph, the fence is going to stop it," Greg Gilson said.
Gilson was 20 rows above the area of the stands that was sprayed with flying debris, and in his opinion, changes to the fence would obstruct fans' view of the action.
"I don't think they need to change it, I don't," he said. "If they put something there to keep cars out, you won't be able to see through it. Something like this hasn't ever happened."
Others say they'll never sit that close to the track again.
"I never thought about it," Joe Lucas said. "We've been to other racetracks with cars coming at you at 200 mph."
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