Thursday, December 18, 2014


Talladega Speedway Learns From Daytona Crash
By Ashley Thompson


Last weekend, at least 28 people were injured after a racecar crash at the Daytona International Speedway sent debris into the stands. Now, racetrack officials across the country are trying to learn from the horrific incident. .

On the last lap of the Nationwide Series Race at Daytona, a 12-vehicle crash sent one racecar soaring into the fence that separates the drivers from the fans. As a result, at least 28 people were injured, leaving many race fans worried about track dangers.

"It would make me think twice about going because I'm concerned about the safety," says Talladega fan Mike Weaver.

The Daytona Speedway and the Talladega Speedway are similar tracks with regards to distance and both allow racers to drive close to 200 miles per hour. Talladega Chairman Grant Lynch remembers a similar crash in 2009 at his track that also threw a racecar into the safety fence.

"Since that time, we've actually evolved our fences three different times," says Lynch. "They're bigger, stronger, and more protective than they've ever been."

The fence you see at racetracks circles the entire track guarding fans from racers below. But some may argue that more protection is needed.

"When I like to go to the race, I like to sit close to the track but the walls are outdated, the cars are faster these days," says racing fan Matt Sapp. "So, I guess it probably is a major concern, probably needs to be dealt with."

And Lynch agrees, saying making the sport of racing safer for fans is a top priority.

"The safety improvements continue to evolve but each time we have an incident, we'll study it and make necessary changes if we see fit," Lynch explains. "We'll learn from that and if we can, we'll make further improvements to our system

But not everyone is worried about crowd safety at the races. Nascar fan Todd Pate says major accidents are few and far between.

"Accidents happen. I know they've been a little bit more recent but it's still not very likely that it's going to happen every single time you go to a race."