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If you've ever spent time in a skybox at a NASCAR track, you know that it's an absolutely delightful experience: air-conditioned comfort, plush chairs, a wide-angle view of the track that's better than any IMAX, and thick windows that insulate you from all the hue and cry (and smells) of the madding crowd below.
That is, until the race decides to smash its way into your sanctuary.
As if Sunday's Texas race wasn't weird enough, now comes word that two fans were injured when a brake pad broke loose from Sam Hornish Jr.'s car. The part sailed more than 100 feet into the air, crashing through a skybox window on the eighth floor of Texas Motor Speedway's Speedway Club.
An eyewitness report indicated that the burning pad scarred the suite's carpet and hit one man in the chest. Another man had glass lodged in his throat, and the waitresses had glass on their trays. One man — presumably the throat-stabbed one — was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
What is it with Texas Motor Speedway and objects falling from the sky? Two years ago almost to the day, a woman was injured when a bullet hit her in her RV that was parked at the track, and now this. Shouldn't debris be pelting Cowboys Stadium instead?
All joking aside, NASCAR has enough trouble maintaining its fanbase without worrying that any of them are going to get killed watching the race. If a part flew a hundred feet in the air fast and hard enough to go through tempered glass, think what it could have done had it hit someone directly. Freak accident? Absolutely. But NASCAR engineers need to figure out why this happened, and whether there's any way to prevent it from happening again.