It wasn’t supposed to end that way. Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, what was an exciting start to the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series turned horribly tragic in what seemed like an instant.
As the field rocketed towards the finish line, cars began crashing. One, driven by Kyle Larson, rose up off the track into the fence at nearly 200 miles per hour and exploded. I was directly across from the point of impact and after the roar of the machines died down, screams could be heard along with shouting. The remains of Larson’s car came to rest; as soon as I saw that the front of the car was gone, I scanned around the infield. Not seeing the engine or other remains from the car the realization struck; the entire front of the car was now somewhere in the grandstands. I felt a chill; this story would not have a happy ending.
Drivers began exiting their mangled machines, including Larson. Meanwhile other emergency workers were racing to the scene of the impact with the fence. Sirens could now be heard from the far side of the grandstand. At that point no one knew the number of extent of injuries, but let there be no doubt that those who need to respond to such things were there very quickly. I witnessed people leaving the stands on stretchers, ‘packaged’ as we used to call it when I was a medic in the military; neck braced and on backboards, usually not a good sign. MORE>>>