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Racing Crash Injures Spectators; Casts Light on Fan Safety

At Sunday’s IndyCar Grand Prix of Houston, 13 spectators were injured when two cars bumped in the final lap of the race sending one sailing into a protective fence.

The other car spun out, shearing off part of its side, sending debris toward the grandstands.

One of the drivers, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, suffered spinal and ankle injuries and was hospitalized.

This crash comes eight months after a February incident during a NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway that sent debris flying into the stands, injuring 28 fans. In March, two people died in an accident during warm-ups.

The Charlotte Observer newspaper reported in 201 that 46 spectators had died at U.S. race tracks between 1990 and 2010.

PRESS Inc., a racing safety company, reports that 2,000 spectators are injured in a year.

The incident puts fan safety under the spotlight again.

Two years ago Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon died after his car struck a fence support during a race in Law Vegas.

The league has long commented on improving fan safety. CEO Mark Miles said executives would look at new safety initiatives, including the possibility of new types of fences, more safety precautions near where drivers stop for service and repairs and driver safety enhancements.

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Source: CNN, “Another racing crash casts light on fan safety,” October 7, 2013.

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