All the way up until the final eight laps, the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ season opening race in the Drive 4 COPD 300 was action packed but relatively tame.
We saw a race record for most leaders and plenty of passing and action all day long.
Unfortunately, this style of racing got the best of us as a violent accident on the last-lap of today’s race potentially injured several fans in the stands at the Daytona International Speedway.
Kyle Larson’s No. 32 Clorox Chevrolet got airborne and into the catchfence going into the tri-oval in a spectacular crash involving several drivers. Larson’s entire front end including everything under the hood and the two front tires were completely gone as tons of debris from the car and catchfence flew into the stands.
The accident wasn’t Larson’s fault as he was just collected when Regan Smith moved high to block Brad Keselowski coming to the finish line. Larson was hit and thrown upside and airborne as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Alex Bowman and nearly a dozen other drivers were collected in the spectacular crash.
Tony Stewart would go on to win the race, but he chose not to celebrate the victory with his thoughts and prayers going to the spectators and other drivers involved.
Luckily, none of the drivers were hurt as all of them involved walked away unscathed, but we have no word as of now how many spectators were injured and their condition. We do know at least two have been taken by stretcher to an ambulance which was taking them to the Halifax Medical Center which is located down the street from DIS. Other than that there’s no word on how many others were injured.
This is just another reason why the two-car tandem is dangerous and not going to work for the safety of the competitors and the fans. Drivers have nowhere to go when they have huge runs with this style of racing and when you get to the end of the race they’re not letting up. When drivers like Smith move up to block the guys behind can’t slow down in enough time and they just try to barrel through them for a win.
That causes everyone to stack up and we see spectacular wrecks. This is the third wreck in a row at DIS for the Nationwide Series coming to the checkered flag. Both of last year’s races we saw melees with heavy carnage which was a result of the same type of scenario of someone blocking faster cars coming from behind.
As weird as this sounds pack racing is better due to everyone going near the same speed and not cutting momentum of other drivers. Changes definitely need to be made as cars shouldn’t be getting airborne and affecting the spectators in attendance due to that type of racing.
Follow Eric Smith for all NASCAR and IndyCar news and updates on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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