Just this past winter during the Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Busch hit an inside wall, breaking his leg. In the same race the year prior, Kyle Larson’s Nationwide car got airborne on the front stretch, sending part of his car into the stands, injuring multiple fans.
Last night’s 2015 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway race looked to be more of the same deal, different drivers. Except it wasn’t.
No. 11 driver, Denny Hamlin got loose and made contact with the No. 3 of Austin Dillon as the race was concluding across the start/finish line at Daytona. Dillon went airborne and hit and massively damaged the catch fence. But unlike the Nationwide race of a year and half ago, the catch fence caught 99% of the car, and all but one fan was spared from injury.
That one fan was treated and released — a huge upgrade from last year.
Everyone walked away from the Coke Zero 400 and NASCAR and the racetracks of NASCAR should be commended for that. The racing was great, but the safety was better. Granted, Austin Dillon will have soreness in his back and arm for the coming week, he fared great after seeing the accident. Not only does he go airborne, shred the catch fence, he then gets hit by the spinning No. 2 car past the start finish. Minutes later, he’s out of the car under his own power.
Kudos to NASCAR and its tracks for that, and from sparing everyone from another tragedy involving the famous No. 3 Cup car.