NASCAR Show Goes On After Dozens Injured

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 24 2013 11:03 AM

NASCAR Faces Questions on Fan Safety After Accident Injures Dozens

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Kyle Larson's Chevrolet goes airborne during Saturday's race, crashing into the catch fence and sending debris from the car into the crowd

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images

The Daytona 500—often called the Super Bowl of motorsports—will go on as planned Sunday, even though NASCAR officials still have plenty of explaining to do about the massive pile-up on Saturday that sent car debris, including a tire, flying into the crowd, injuring 28 fans. There was also lots of cleanup to take care of before Sunday’s race, and track workers quickly repaired a section of the fence that separates fans from the track around 200 feet from the start-finish line, reports the Associated Press. Although NASCAR said 28 people were injured, of which 14 were treated on site, the AP hears from local officials that 19 people were taken to neighboring hospitals.

Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood vowed that there would be a safety review of the fencing, reports USA Today. "We don't anticipate moving any fans," Chitwood said. This morning, Chitwood emphasized that if any fans would rather not be close to the fence during the Daytona 500, officials would work to find them alternate seating. Sunday’s race was already enjoying higher-than-usual attention due to the presence of Danica Patrick as the first woman starting from pole position.

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Saturday’s wreck, which involved 12 cars, happened after Regan Smith, who was leading the race, tried to block another driver. "I threw a block there," Smith said. "I knew Brad [Keselowski] was going to try to make a move on me. ... If I'm in the same situation tomorrow [in the Daytona 500], I'll do the same thing again." After the crash, NASCAR tried to block a fan video depicting the crash from YouTube, claiming it was doing so out of respect for the injured, reports the Verge. (Watch the video after the jump.) YouTube initially took down the video but later reversed its decision.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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