An unfortunate, massive crash occurred near the conclusion of Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive4COPD 300 race at Daytona International Speedway.
UPDATE: Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:20 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos
In a press conference to discuss Saturday's horrific crash, the Daytona International Speedway Twitter account reported the following statement from track president Joie Chitwood III, with the NASCAR on Speed feed adding a quote from Chitwood on plans for tomorrow's big race:
DIS President Joie Chitwood III statement continued: We transported 14 people off property and 14 were treated at our on-track care center.— Daytona IntlSpeedway (@DISupdates) February 24, 2013
---End of Update---
Race leader Regan Smith had victory in his sights on the final lap, but was narrowly out in front of high-profile drivers Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart, not to mention a huge pack of contenders vying for a final-lap move.
Coming down the stretch, Keselowski, the reigning Sprint Cup champion, bumped Smith from behind, and Smith wound up careening sideways and slamming head-on into the outside wall.
As Smith was spinning, Keselowski lost control and blocked off several cars in front of him, which resulted in a massive pileup and a lot of wreckage. Stewart somehow navigated through the sea of spun-out cars to take the checkered flag.
Kyle Larson's No. 32 car was the most severely damaged, as it became airborne in the midst of the chaos and was kept inside the track by the catch net. The entire front portion of Larson's car fell off completely, and his engine and the front of his car landed just in front of the grandstands.
Yahoo! Sports reporter Nick Bromberg indicated that some fans were harmed from this scary incident by debris that had escaped over the barriers. According to Bromberg, "A track worker told Yahoo! Sports that one woman had a tourniquet on her leg, others suffered burns and a tire landed on one fan..."
USA Today Sports' official Twitter page captured safety crews tending to those who were hurt:
Safety is always a concern with the high-speed racing that NASCAR drivers engage in, and Saturday was an example of how slim the margin of error is and the ramifications for even a minor miscue.