Created on: February 25, 2013 Last Updated: February 27, 2013
Jimmy Johnson won the Daytona 500 race on Sunday for the second time of his career and is the 10th driver to have multiple victories. Johnson’s win was overshadowed, though, by a tumultuous car crash that occurred the day before during the Nationwide Series Drive4COPD 300, which resulted in 28 injuries.
On the final lap of the race, about a dozen or so cars crashed into each other and debris from the wreck flew into the stands: tires went into the crowd as well parts of Kyle Larson’s vehicle when the front clip was cut off.
Although the fence is 22 feet high, debris was flung over and some of it went through the holes that were created from the accident. The cars were driving at speeds of 175 mph (281 km/h).
Half of the fans that were injured were sent to a nearby hospital, while the others were treated at the Daytona International Speedway, according to the Associated Press. Two suffered serious injuries and one was life-threatening, but they both are reported to be in stable condition. All of the drivers were also checked and examined and they were all reported to be fine.
The entire crash was caught on camera by fans from different angles.
“I think the fence did its job," Rick Hendrick said during Monday's Daytona 500 champion's breakfast for driver Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team, according to ESPN. "I've never seen the clip come off before. What happened to the clip, there might be something else we can do. I've never seen that happen."
A local Florida news channel was able to obtain a 911 call from a fan who was at the crash.
“There's been a crash! These people…really serious. Sprint tower, section zero, row 30. We need help! Big time, quick!”
The horrific crash didn’t cause officials to cancel or delay the annual “Great American Race.” The Daytona 500 went on as scheduled and Speedway President Joie Chitwood told reporters that he was satisfied with the condition of the racetrack. He also noted that fans who sat in that section did not ask to be moved or for a refund. Chitwood was actually asked if he would like a beer.
Chitwood elaborated that he will work with NASCAR moving forward in order to inspect the fence to see if there was something wrong with the design that could have made the extent of the damage even worse.
“There are things that happen that are unexpected, and whether it's a jet dryer incident, whether there's a pot hole or obviously what occurred Saturday night, those are things we're going to learn from,” said Chitwood. “We've always got to get better. We will learn from this and we'll figure out if there's anything we need to do about it.”
A renovation project for the speedway has yet to be approved by its parent company.
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