A racecar crashed into a fence on the eve of the Daytona 500, sending a tire and debris into the crowd and injuring 33 fans.
The accident took place during the last lap of the Nationwide Series prior to the Daytona 500. The crash occurred when the leader, Regan Smith attempted to block Brad Keselowski to secure a win, causing another driver, rookie Kyle Larson, to go airborne into the fence. The car was traveling at a speed of nearly 200 mph.
Chunks of debris went flying into the spectator stands closest to the track, and the burning engine of the car was wedged into the fence, with smoke clouding the area. According to the speedway president Joie Chitwood 14 people were taken from the property for treatment, while 14 others were treated on the track. One person is currently in critical condition at Halifax Health Medical Center
Earlier in the race, there was a 13-car accident that sent driver Michael Annett to the hospital.
Now, NASCAR officials are looking into fan safety and fencing requirements at the Daytona 500. The fence on the track had been replaced in 2010 following a similar accident. Although the fence did stop Larson's car from flying into the stands, the performance of the fence will be evaluated and improved to keep fans safe.
This is not the first time fans have been injured at a racing event. In 2009, seven fans were injured after being showered with debris following a crash and in 2010, an accident at an off-road racing event caused a car to lose control and land on a group of spectators, killing eight people and injuring 10 others.
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Source: CBS News, "Daytona Crash sends car parts flying, injuring fans," Feb. 23, 2013.