Can Daytona International Speedway Be Held Liable for Fan's Injuries?

11:40 PM, Feb 24, 2013   |    comments
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Lexington, NC -- NASCAR is one of the more dangerous sports, not just for the drivers but for the fans as well.

Kyle Larson's car crashed into the fence while going around 175 miles per hour in the last lap of Saturday's Nationwide race. 

Parts of his engine flew through the fence and into the stands. 28 people went to the hospital with injuries. 

"You can't control these things when they are going 200 miles an hour, there is no way you can control or know what's going to happen," said Bruce Hayes.

Bruce Hayes has seen it all as the former owner of Caraway Speedway and trophy maker for the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Sr.  He knows NASCAR.

"I was sitting in the stands with some people, and I was probably maybe about 10 rows up and all of a sudden here comes a generator out of the car! I think they had collision down below me and it just flew out of the car and landed right between my legs," said Hayes.

Hayes says accidents like that and what happened in Daytona comes with the territory. And even though they can't be predicted, he says they should almost be expected.

"When you go to these races you know you might have a problem so you got to be careful," said Hayes.

The seats furthest away from the fence are usually the safest but even debris from Saturday's crash ended up in the grandstand. 

There are warnings posted around the races and even on the back of NASCAR tickets.

The back of a ticket at Bristol Raceway says "Bristol Motor Speedway regrets that its efforts as to spectator safety do not eliminate all risk of injury to spectators." It adds that participation is at your own risk.

The Richmond International Raceway ticket gets more specific. It says everyone associated with the raceway are released from claims arising from the event, including claims of negligence.

"I would think with the tickets and knowing all the signs going in telling you what you've got to do and all the things they try to do to keep it safe.  I don't see how it could be Daytona's fault for this to happen. You're going in really, doing anything at your own risk and people should realize what might happen and it will happen before and it will happen again.  I think maybe they shouldn't be liable for this," said Hayes.

The area damaged to the fence in Saturday's crash was repaired before the Daytona 500.

Fans with tickets in that section were still able to sit there.

The NASCAR Vice President of Racing Operations says the fence worked like it was supposed to but they still have some room to improve.

WFMY News 2

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