February 23, 2013

Disaster At Daytona

On the final lap of today's NASCAR Nationwide series race at the Daytona Superspeedway, there was a terrible wreck.  Kyle Larson, in the middle of the pack coming out of Turn 4 and heading for the tri-oval/start-finish line, got tipped sideways and as often happens at any superspeedway race, The Big One happened.  There were cars going every which way, but Larson went nose-first into the wall, snapped over, and got airborne.  HIGH.

The entire front of his car, back to the firewall, was torn off as he pinwheeled over the SAFER barrier and into the catch fence.  The catch fence did its job: it kept the #32 out of the stands.  Mostly.

You may notice the man with the orange hat.  Directly above him in that picture is the engine of the #32; the fire you might notice is from fluids draining from it.  Unfortunately, that's not the only thing that got through the fence, and what got through was worse than an engine.

At least one 120lb tire/wheel/brake rotor combinaton made it into the stands, working its way through the spectators until it came to a halt some 15-20 rows up.  Around thirty people are known to have been injured.  15 were taken to the track's medical facility for minor cuts and bruises and were released.  Conflicting reports say 14 to 16 were taken to two hospitals near the track.  At least one was reported to have a serious head injury and was in emergency surgery.  Having said that, NASCAR officials just had a press conference, and they said that everybody at the hospitals were in "stable" condition, so take that emergency surgery report with a grain of salt. 

Racers know that what they do is dangerous.  They understand that every time they climb into their car, be it NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, dragsters, LeMans or motorcycles, they could be injured or killed.  But no fan expects to see a tire flying at their face, and it's troubling every time a fan is hurt.

With luck, everybody injured will be okay.  Ironically, the drivers involved are all just fine.  As of right now, Sunday's Daytona 500 will go on as planned, with Danica Patrick on pole.

Let's hope.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:59 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 The winner of the race did the right thing too.  They basically skipped any sort of post race celebration/interviews/antics and just focused on getting people care.

Posted by: Tom Tjarks at February 23, 2013 08:03 PM (kEIAU)

2 Maybe it's too early to be this cynical, but somehow I DON'T expect there will be calls to Ban NASCAR racing after this.  Unlike how they tried to end the Reno Air Races after their darkest hour.

Posted by: Mauser at February 23, 2013 08:08 PM (cZPoz)

3 Looks like there weren't any deaths, and that's damned lucky. This is no LeMans...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at February 24, 2013 11:12 AM (+rSRq)

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