During a brief press conference this evening, an update was given regarding the last lap accident in the Nationwide race at Daytona. President of Daytona International Speedway, Joie Chitwood, and Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Senior Vice President for Racing Operations, made statements and answered a handful of questions from media members.
Sharing general information about injured fans, Chitwood said, “First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with our race fans. Following the incident we responded appropriately according to our safety protocols and had emergency medical personnel at the incident immediately. We transported 14 people off property and treated 14 people at our on-track care center. We’re in the process of repairing the facility and will be ready to go racing tomorrow.”
He did not comment on the seriousness of the injuries and the conditions of the patients currently hospitalized or provide information on what kind of debris was involved in causing the injuries.
Chitwood assured folks that appropriate repairs were being made to the fencing. He didn’t describe specifics except to say that they will not have time to replace the crossover gate, so it will be only fencing in that area tomorrow.
They do not anticipate moving any fans from the affected sections for the Daytona 500, Chitwood said. “With the fence being prepared tonight to our safety protocols, we expect to go racing tomorrow with no changes.”
Steve O’Donnell issued this statement:“On behalf of NASCAR, I certainly want to echo Joie’s statements about the fans that were injured here today. Our thoughts are certainly with them and their families. As far as our drivers are concerned, all that were involved in the last lap accident have been treated and released from the infield care center. We did have one driver that was transported earlier during the race, Michael Annett. He has been treated and will be at the hospital and is remaining there. Joie talked about the track and the track is currently underway repairing the fencing. We’re very confident that we’ll be ready for tomorrow’s event with the 55th running of the Daytona 500. As with any of these incidents, we will conduct a thorough review. We will work closely with the tracks, as we do for all our events, learn what we can and see what we can apply in the future.”
The staff of Skirts and Scuffs sends our thoughts and prayers to all of the injured fans and their families.