Friday 15 November 2019

Mayhem as crash debris hits race fans

Jerome Minerva Daytona Beach

A horrifying crash on the last lap of a race at Daytona International Speedway injured at least 30 fans and provided a stark reminder of what can happen when a car going nearly 320kmh is suddenly launched toward the spectator areas.

The victims were sprayed with large chunks of debris – including a tyre – after rookie Kyle Larson's car careened into the fencing designed to protect the massive grandstands lining NASCAR's most famous track.

"I love the sport," said Shannan Devine, who witnessed the carnage from her 19th-row seat, about 75 metres away. "But no one wants to get hurt over it."

The fencing served its primary purpose, catapulting what was left of Larson's car back on to the track. But it didn't keep potentially lethal shards from flying into the stands.

From Daytona to Le Mans to a rural road in Ireland, auto racing spectators have long been too close to the action when parts start flying. The crash in the second-tier Nationwide race follows a long list of accidents that have left fans dead or injured.

The most tragic incident occurred during the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, when two cars collided, killing 83 spectators as well as driver Pierre Levegh.

Irish Independent

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