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Injured fans spark race probe

2013-02-27 10:04

DOZENS INJURED IN NASCAR CRASH: Kyle Larson’s car crashes into the fencing at the Daytona International Speedway, hurling debris into the stands injuring dozens.

 
A lawyer hired by three fans who were injured when debris was hurled into a stand at the Daytona International Speedway will focus his probe on the catch-fencing.

Matt Morgan of the Orlando, Florida, law firm Morgan and Morgan, said: "Our firm has the utmost respect for Nascar and their fans. Our investigation will look into the manufacture of the fence. Our goal is to ensure this type of tragedy does not occur again. Fans deserve to be protected and safe at sports events."

DEBRIS HURLED INTO STANDS

Morgan announced on Twitter that his firm had been hired by three people hurt by debris from the crash at the Daytona circuit on February 23 2013 during final stage of a race that served as a curtain-raiser to the 2013 Daytona 500 on February 24.

Kyle Larson, a rising driver who had made is first start in Nascar's second-tier Nationwide series, was caught in a pile-up involving a  dozen cars. His car was launched into the fencing which separates the track from the stands. The front of his car tore a gaping hole in the fence which allowed a tyre and other debris to be hurled into the crowd.

Speedway president Joie Chitwood said 28 people were hurt; 14 were taken to local hospitals and 14 treated at the track's medical centre. He did not confirm reports that  one person had surgery for head trauma or that at least one other person had injuries considered serious, if not life-threatening.

Repairs to the track, fencing and stand were completed in time for the Daytona 500, the season-opening showpiece of Nascar's elite Sprint Cup series.

Veteran Jimmie Johnson claimed victory on the last lap, while Danica Patrick, who made history at Daytona as the first woman to win a Sprint Cup pole position, finished eighth.

SAFETY TO BE IMPROVED


Chitwood said he watched the 500 race from the damaged area of the stands and was welcomed by spectators.

He said: "I just felt it was appropriate. I run this track. I'm comfortable sitting in any seat. I thought it was the right thing to do. I wanted (the fans) to see me there sitting with them."

Nascar's analysis of the incident has started at its research and development centre in Concord, North Carolina. Engineers and outside experts are examining debris and video replays as they seek to determine why the car's front end sheared off and what, if any, safety protocols need to be changed or improved.

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