FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – At the Daytona 500, the focus was not only on racing, but on safety, after a harrowing crash injured more than 2 dozen people Saturday, including a man from North Texas.
Debris from wrecked vehicles, including a tire and an engine were flung into the grandstands, injuring nearly 30 people.
Eddie Huckaby, 53, of Krum, Texas, and his brother Terry were in the grandstands when the crash took place.
“You’ve got to realize a motor was sitting in the stands,” Terry Huckaby said. “I didn’t realize he had got hurt as bad until I looked down and seen him laying down. His leg was bleeding pretty bad.”
Eddie Gossage, President of Texas Motor Speedway, saw the crash.
“I was in Daytona until Saturday morning. Their fence fewer calories than our fence does. That’s one of the first things that I noticed as I was looking at the damage yesterday,” he said.
Gossage said there has never been an incident at TMS where a debris has flown through or over a fence. The fence at TMS has 3 layers of of protection, with upright poles, thick vertical cables, and two kinds of metal mesh fencing.
The proximity to car racing at more than 200 mph is what draws fans, but that proximity can also be dangerous.
“The drivers, they bargain for some of the risk they take. But the fans, that’s something you just can’t tolerate,” Gossage said.
Despite an excellent safety record, Gossage says every crash can and should be a learning experience.
“I assure you, there is going to be a lot of research being done in the days ahead to try to determine other ways to protect the fans in the stands from that kind of thing happening again,” he said.
Meanwhile, Huckaby, underwent surgery on his leg and is expected to be okay. The brothers say they are still race fans despite Eddie’s injury.
Texas Motor Speedway will host the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 as part of the NASCAR Nationwide series on April 12 and the Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on April 13th.
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