By the time the Nascar Nationwide Series Drive4COPD 300 race was over in Daytona, Danica Patrick’s car dying was the least of the excitement. Tony Stewart jumped from 20th place to 3rd after a restart, and won the race in the wake of a crash between Regan Smith who was in the lead, and Brad Keselowski, who was making a move to pass Smith.
When the two cars made contact, Keselowski’s car ended up facing the safety fence, causing a multi-vehicle pileup that tore Kyle Larson‘s car literally in half, and sent car parts — including a tire and an engine — flying into the grandstands. ESPN reports 15 fans were transported to local hospitals following the incident, one requiring surgery and possibly in critical condition.
Stewart laments the bittersweet ending to the race, pointing out that the drivers assume the risk of race dangers, but the fans are a different story. “As much as we want to celebrate right now, and as much as this a big deal to us, I’m more worried about the drivers and the fans that are in the stands right now,” Stewart says. “I could see it all in the mirror and it didn’t look good from where I was at either.”
Larson, who is uninjured says “I’m not sure where everything ended up on the racetrack. I hope all the fans are OK and the drivers are alright.”
Nascar made quick rounds on the internet following the incident, having fan videos of the melee removed from YouTube and Twitter. However, Deadspin put together a roundup of frantic tweets and a very scary video shot from the stands.
“I can see multiple stretchers being used in stands. Medics working frantically,” tweeted USA Today’s Nascar writer Jeff Gluck. The fan-shot video consists of many instances of “Holy s***!” and portrays a mix of chaos and confusion. The Nascar-licensed broadcast footage of the crash, seen above, remains on YouTube.