DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – At least 28 fans sustained injuries, two critically, when parts of Kyle Larson's car flew into the stands at the conclusion of Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway. One of the critically injured fans suffered a "life-threatening" head injury and the other is a child according to a spokesman at Halifax Medical Center.
Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood said that 14 people were transported to hospitals from the track and another 14 were treated at the track's onsite care center.
A track worker told Yahoo! Sports that one woman had a tourniquet on her leg, others suffered burns and a tire landed on one fan when a multiple-car accident unfolded as drivers raced for the finish line in the final lap of the Drive4COPD 300.
Tony Stewart missed the pileup and won the race as Larson's car was propelled into the catchfence separating the track from the grandstands on the Daytona International Speedway trioval.
The crash was triggered when leader Regan Smith was turned via contact from Brad Keselowski, who was pushing him. Much like many crashes that have happened in the front of the field at Daytona, the wreck was unavoidable for many behind and Larson's car was catapulted into the catchfence after he was tagged from behind. The impact with the catchfence sheared the entire front off of Larson's car and also tore a hole in the fence. His engine and a tire ended up lodged in the catchfence with the other tire nine rows up in the grandstands. When Larson's car came to rest in the infield, the entire section of the car in front of the cockpit was missing.
After the crash, spectators were being treated in the grandstands for injuries from debris from the crash. We will update the post when more information becomes available. Larson was evaluated and released from the infield care center after he climbed from his car. Following the race, NASCAR President Mike Helton joined ESPN in the booth.
"I think to see and explain what we know right now is there obviously was some intrusion into the fence, and fortunately with the way the event's equipped up, there was plenty of emergency workers ready to go. They all jumped in on it pretty quickly," Helton said.
"Right now it's a function of trying to determine of what all damage is done. They're moving folks as we've seen to care centers and taking some folks over to Halifax Medical Center. We'll be able to update you later on, but all we know is everybody is working hard on what all happened."
To get in position to win, Stewart made an aggressive move on the backstretch on the final lap to move from the inside lane to the outside with Sam Hornish pushing him and the two made up ground on Smith and Keselowski in turns 3 and 4. As Smith's car spun around, Stewart darted to the inside and avoided both drivers to take the win.
Earlier in the race, another multi-car accident erupted. It involved Michael Annett, who was taken to an area hospital. He was awake, alert and undergoing tests, according to NASCAR.
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