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Hoosier spectators describe tragic crash at Daytona

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He was only a thousand feet away from the devastating crash in Daytona, and now, Dave Stoops of Carmel can’t get the image out of his mind.

“Everybody was pretty shocked, of course,” Stoops said. “There’s a bunch of people who want to go see the incident, instead of trying to get out of the way for medical help.”

Stoops and his father, Ed, were close enough to see the tire fly into the stands, but thankfully, far enough that they too weren’t injured.

“We’ve been calling friends, family, letting everyone know that we’re okay,” Stoops said. “Just thankful that it wasn’t us.”

At least 28 fans were injured in the wild finish to the Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway. A frightening last-lap crash all started when leader Regan Smith started turning sideways coming to the checkered flag. Cars began wrecking all over the track and one went sailing into the fence that separates the track from the grandstands.

“Debris did fly up, scattered all through the stands,” said Stoops. “There were some people who got cut.”

Thom Kolby of New Palestine was also at the race, and told Fox59 his thoughts were with the families of the injured fans.

“My heart goes out to them, because I’m a fan as well,” Kolby said. “These people are just sitting there enjoying themselves, and you know, an accident is an accident, but it’s still traumatic.”

Saturday night, NASCAR officials held a press conference to discuss the crash.

“As with any of these incidents, we`ll conduct a thorough review as we do for all of our events, learn what we can and see what we can apply in the future,” said NASCAR’s Steve O`Donnell.

“This fencing certainly wasn’t capable of stopping this stuff, and I think it needs to be really addressed as a fan,” said Kolby.

1 Comment

  • Gina

    My husband was there as well- he was in row 48 but it happened right below him . Someone that was in their group but was sitting lower actually got a small cut and transmission fluid on him . Scary! My thoughts are with all the injured!

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