Daytona crash sends debris into stands; fans hurt - WSMV Channel 4

Daytona crash sends debris into stands; fans hurt

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Several NASCAR fans continue to recover in the hospital after a terrifying crash during one of the sport's biggest races.

Twelve cars crashed Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, sending several pieces of debris into the crowd during the final lap of the Nationwide Series race.

NASCAR races always carry an element of danger, and perhaps that explains the popularity of the sport, but this crash hit home for many people, including several in Middle Tennessee.

While many saw the crash on TV, Nashville resident Teri Barer looked on from the stands in Florida.

"I saw a car go up and it kind of look like it turned upside down basically," Barer said.

Barer had originally gone to Daytona to watch her car, which didn't qualify for Saturday's race. She decided to stick around and watch the competition. Barer says she could see pieces of a car fly into the stands.

"There were whole sections of car that were off," Barer said. "Some of the cars had flames coming out of them."

Cars began to wreck when driver Regan Smith turned sideways into the wall. Rookie Kyle Larson's car went airborne into the fence that separated the track from the seats. Many spectators ducked to miss flying debris, including a tire from Larson's car.

Barer says at first, they thought no one was hurt.

"It wasn't until we got across the street we started hearing ambulances," Barer said.

At least 30 NASCAR fans were injured by flying debris, including Terry Huckaby's brother, Eddie.

"So, we're really lucky. That could've really been a lot more worse than it was," Terry Huckaby said.

The Hendersonville plumber used his belt as a tourniquet to stop the blood loss when a piece of debris cut his brother's leg.

"A motor was sitting in the stands. And a wheel - and I don't mean a tire - a wheel, with a brake drum and everything on it, flying over our head," Terry Huckaby said.

For now, Terry's brother cannot walk, but surgery will hopefully help.

The accident has fan Kevin Chappel concerned about the safety all together at Daytona.

"That could have been anybody, I mean, particularly kids," Chappel said. "That's the one thing I don't like about it. I know they are trying to get back to real racing and stuff, but sometimes it's best not to go back to real racing."

The injured fans in the grandstands were about 200 feet from the start-finish line, but Saturday's crash did not impact the running of the famed Daytona 500 on Sunday.

The crash did not distract diehard fans, including Barer, who said she hopes to return in spite of what she perceives as a safety issue in Daytona.

"I sat on that side the night before, and I felt that the wall that was there was way too - there was a separation between the wall and the seats, but it wasn't big enough," she said.

Terry Huckaby said his brother, Eddie, will soon continue his recovery in Nashville.

The investigation continues into the crash and safety issues for fans, but fine print on NASCAR tickets could keep most all of the injured from suing.

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