By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The Sports Xchange
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Tony Stewart won Saturday's DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
However, the elation of his victory disappeared in the wake of a heart-stopping wreck that saw Kyle Larson's car demolished after flying into the crossover gate that provides access from the asphalt to the main grandstand.
As Stewart dodged the crash and crossed the finish line, the front clip of Larson's car sheared off, ripping the engine out of its compartment. The front suspension and engine ended up on the walkway at the bottom of the stands.
Regan Smith led as the cars approached the checkered flag, but Smith tried to block Brad Keselowski, who was running second, and turned across the nose of Keselowski's car.
There were no immediate reports as to the extent of injuries, but emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene with stretchers and removed one spectator who was tightly strapped to the gurney. Other fans appeared to be receiving treatment at the scene.
According to NASCAR, 15 spectators were transported to area hospitals, including one on the way to surgery with head trauma.
The emergency in the grandstand tempered Stewart's fifth victory in his last six February races at Daytona and the 11th Nationwide Series win of his career.
"Fortunately, with the way the event's equipped up, there were plenty of emergency workers ready to go, and they jumped in on it pretty quickly," NASCAR president Mike Helton told ESPN. "And right now, it's just a function of trying to determine 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), so we'll be able to update later on, but right now, all we know is everybody's working real hard on determining what all happened."
Larson climbed from his car almost immediately and was evaluated and released from the infield care center.