Fans in disbelief after NASCAR crash
On Saturday 30 fans were injured when NASCAR driver Kyle Larson's car crashed and chunks of debris flew into the stands in Daytona.
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"I thought the car went through the fence," Devine said. "I didn't know if there was a car on top of people. I didn't know what to think. I'm an emotional person. I immediately started to cry. It was very scary, absolutely scary. I love the speed of the sport. But it's so dangerous."Skip to next paragraph
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The fencing used to protect seating areas and prevent cars from hurtling out of tracks has long been part of the debate over how to improve safety.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti lost close friend Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas in the 2011 IndyCar season finale, when Wheldon's car catapulted into the fencing and his head struck a support post. Since his death, IndyCar drivers have called for studies on how to improve the safety barriers.
Franchitti renewed the pleas on Twitter after the Daytona crash, writing "it's time (at)Indycar (at)nascar other sanctioning bodies & promoters work on an alternative to catch fencing. There has to be a better solution."
Another fan who witnessed the crash said he's long worried that sizable gaps in the fencing increase the chances of debris getting through to the stands.
"I've always thought the netting was very wide and pieces could fly through," said Lenny Brown, who was attending races at Daytona for the fourth time.
Among the most frightening accidents involving fans:
— In 1987, Bobby Allison's car lifted off the track at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama while running over 200 mph, careening into the steel-cable fence and scattering debris into the crowd. That crash led to the use of horsepower-sapping restrictor plates at Talladega and its sister track in Daytona, NASCAR's fastest layouts. As a result, the cars all run nearly the same speed, and the field is typically bunched tightly together — which plenty of drivers have warned is actually a more dangerous scenario than higher speeds.
— That same year, at the Indianapolis 500, a fan was killed when struck by a tire that came off Tony Bettenhausen's car. The tire bounced off the front of Roberto Guerrero's car and flew to the top row of the grandstand.
— The following year, three fans were killed at Charlotte Motor Speedway during an Indy Racing League event when debris from an accident flew into the stands. The track never held another IndyCar race.