Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 2/23/13
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The Daytona 500 will go off as planned. Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood said the track will "be ready to go racing" in time for Sunday's Daytona 500. The green flag will drop a day after a horrific accident injured fans and drivers, and damaged several safety features. At least 30 spectators were injured Saturday when large chunks of debris, including a tire, sailed into the grandstands when a car flew into the fence on a frightening last-lap accident in the second-tier Nationwide Series race. Chitwood said he doesn't anticipate moving any fans from those affected seats for Sunday's race. He said the fence that separates the track from the seats will be repaired. The grandstands where fans were injured are about 200 feet from the start-finish line. This will be the third time in four years the track has needed major repairs on Daytona 500 weekend. The 2010 race was interrupted for more than two hours because of a pothole on the track. Juan Pablo Montoya slammed into a jet dryer in last year's race that caused a raging inferno that stopped the event for two hours. "We're very confident that we'll be ready for tomorrow's event with the 55th running of the Daytona 500," Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice president of racing operations, said. "As with any of these incidents, we'll conduct a thorough review and work closely with the tracks as we do with all our events, learn what we can and see what we can apply in the future." Chitwood said there where wasn't enough time to replace the crossover gate, which allows fans to walk from the grandstands to the infield. He stressed proper safety protocols were met. "Our security maintained a buffer that separates the fans from the fencing area," he said. "With the fencing being prepared tonight to our safety protocols, we expect to go racing tomorrow with no changes." NASCAR and track officials did not know how much fencing would need to replaced or repaired. Same with the impact-absorbing soft walls. But the track's recent history with expediting repairs for the 500 could only help the race start as scheduled. "You try to prepare for as much as you can," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "You also take away and learn from every incident." The accident happened the day before the Daytona 500, the season-opening race in the Sprint Cup series and NASCAR's biggest race. The horror in the stands marred what had been a week of celebration that kicked off with Danica Patrick becoming the first woman to win a pole in the premier series. Wreckage flew into the upper deck and emergency crews treated fans on both levels. There were five stretchers that appeared to be carrying fans out, and a helicopter flew overhead. A forklift was used to pluck driver Kyle Larson's engine out of the fence, and there appeared to be a tire in the stands. Across the track, fans pressed against a fence and used binoculars trying to watch. Reporters were threatened to leave the area. Hours after the wreck, the fence was down and soft walls were being repaired as TV news helicopters hovered overhead. Otherwise, it was business as usual as the track underwent its makeover for "The Great American Race." The stages for driver introductions and the pre-race concert were already in place, as were the generators on pit road. The Daytona 500 logo was being painted on the grass and other track logs got a touch up. If not for the steady buzz from the welding done on the fence, it would look like any other late Saturday night before the Daytona 500. Fans seated in the area of the wreck uploaded videos on YouTube that showed fans feeing in horror and covering their heads as tires and an engine hurled their way. Most of the videos were soon removed from YouTube. The scene was similar to a 2009 race at Talladega Superspeedway -- Daytona's sister track in Alabama -- when Carl Edwards' car went sailing into the fence on a last-lap accident. O'Donnell said NASCAR and track officials would continue to strengthen safety standards, as needed. "We'll evaluate the fencing and see if there's anything we can learn from where gates are," O'Donnell said. "I think we need to take the time to really study it and see what we can improve on, if we can. Certainly, the safety of our fans is first and foremost and we'll make that happen."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL players wrote Roger Goodell seeking support for political activism

On the similarities between Kyrie Irving and Kobe Bryant

Tickets for 49ers-Rams game at Levi's going for $14

Sixers still open to trading Jahlil Okafor

Aaron Rodgers has funny quote on never beating the Bengals

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Raul Mondesi sentenced to prison for corruption as mayor in Dominican Republic

WATCH: Youth football coaches engage in ugly brawl

Richard Sherman critical of NFL injury report: It is for gamblers

Adidas hooked Giannis Antetokounmpo up with an entire truck full of sneakers

Carmelo Anthony trade rumors suggest he’s headed to the Rockets soon

John Farrell may use David Price as temporary closer

NFL Week 3 predictions

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors in 2018

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

Getaway Day: Time runs short as postseason nears

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House sticks it to sports

Bengals News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL Week 3 predictions

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors in 2018

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker