2013 Daytona NNS Race Proves It’s Still A Dangerous Sport
Fourteen people were transported from the race track and fourteen were treated in the stands. On Sunday morning, all fans transported to local area hospitals were listed in stable condition with non-life threatening injuries.
Like many Nascar fans the first thing we want to share are our prayers and thoughts to everyone involved in yesterday’s tragic crash. To those injured, their families and all the fans who were sitting in the crash area. Though not everyone was hurt, the trauma of yesterday’s crash impacted everyone in the stands and even some folks at home who had loved ones at the race.
Let’s not forget the drivers involved as well. They maybe waking up today with bumps and bruises but each one of them has express more concerned for the fans than themselves. Finally we can’t say thank you and give enough accolades to the first responders and to the fans in the stands who jumped into action and began helping those around them.
A final lap crash isn’t unheard of in racing of any kind. This one however was not only visually spectacular, but breathtaking as well. “Oh no!” was heard around the track as the spins began to happen and at home. Followed by gasps as Kyle Larson’s #32 went into the air and flew along the catch fence on the front straight away. His engine was ripped from it’s housing, along with both front tires. One of the tires followed the engine into the catch fence and came to a rest near the fan side of the retaining wall. But one tire flew over the fence and into the crowded stands. You can barely see that tire in the smoke on the replay, but it is visible.
Immediately everyone was asking “is he ok”, “oh no I hope no one is hurt in the stands”. And some amount of relief was found as we watched drivers climbing out of their cars. That was especially true for Kyle Larson, whose car finally came to rest in the grass. By its looks alone everyone knew something really bad had happened. The entire front end of the car was sheered off, no engine, no tires. Even the back-end appeared to be gone. But for the carnage of the tore up car, it was a beautiful sight to see Kyle standing near his car, seemingly unhurt. And maybe even obviously concerned for what was going on in the stands.
Like many explosions it was the shrapnel that did the most damage. While the flying tire was extremely dangerous, each race tire weighs between 50-62 lbs.. But the parts and pieces from the engine and every other part of those wrecking cars went flying into the stands, doing the most damage in the crowd.
Even before the emergency crews got into the stands, fans were helping each other with encouraging words, holding hands, taking their shirts and creating makeshift tourniquets and using whatever means they had to help. A testament to the family concern the entire Nascar family has for each other, teams and fans alike. What was equally heartwarming were the officials who weren’t chastising fans for helping and pushing them back so emergency crews could get in there.
One fan reported she saw military personnel rushing down the stands to help those injured. Discovering later they were trained medics who quickly put their skills into action. Great Spirits bless our Military! If you aren’t touched by the expression of love and caring showing by all these people, there’s something wrong with you.
Unlike other sports, we don’t care who your favorite driver is, though we might share a little ribbing about your guy over ours. But we don’t shoot each other after a race because your guy put our guy into the fence on the final lap. We don’t get into fist fights because our favorite team didn’t have a good day and your team won the race.
Yesterday’s fan response to fan injuries is a heartwarming example of that family spirit we all share for every aspect of a sport we’re passionate about. And that passion doesn’t end on the outside of our favorite driver’s t-shirt that we’re proud to wear and proclaim our loyalty to. And it’s not reserved to those at the track for the race either.
Almost immediately Twitter lit up with driver comments. But even before those appeared, fans on twitter were sending their prayers and hoping no one was hurt. When we found out there were injuries, the tweets turned to concern for hope that no one was seriously hurt. The media began sharing the tweets from drivers and industry insiders, but to me the bigger story outside the injuries were the fans who expressed their concerns and prayers.
Yesterday’s tragedy is a testament to the passion and greatness of the Nascar fan. The most loyal fans of any sport in any country. From our family to Nascar nation, thank you for being part of our family and sharing our passion.
Being a Tony Stewart fan, it wasn’t hard to contain excitement for his win. It was great that he won and fantastic that he tied Dale Earnhardt’s record for most Nationwide Series victories at Daytona. This marks Tony’s 7th win of the last 9 NNS opening season races. Showing his class and respect, Smoke held a subdued celebration in victory lane. We hope now that we know those injured are no longer in danger, that the #33 Ritz Cracker Chevy team can take a little moment to celebrate their victory. Well done and Congratulations Smoke!
An Update: Feb. 26, 2013
The real class of a Champion is often times, never seen by the general public. What makes Tony Stewart “The People’s Champion” are the little things he does, that his fans very often never hear about. Or at least we don’t hear about them until months or even years after they occur. Saturday could have been one of those days, if it were not for the ability of some race reporters to be in the right place at the right time to see it in action.
Here on Tuesday, we are blessed with one such reporter, Marty Smith from ESPN. This morning Marty shared an inside scoop that provides a perfect example of the true class of The People’s Champion, when he posted this on Twitter:
Tony Stewart visited injured fans at Halifax Health Sunday night after the Daytona 500. He did not want publicity. He went w genuine concern.
This is one of the big reason I love Tony! You can read Marty’s full report on ESPN about Tony’s visit.
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