Daytona not changing fencing after review of July crash
JOLIET, Ill. (AP) There have been no changes to the fencing at Daytona International Speedway following the last-lap crash in July that sent Austin Dillon’s car into the barrier.
Five fans were injured from debris from the accident, and it marked the third crash in three years in which spectators were hurt after last-lap airborne crashes.
Daytona track president Joie Chitwood said Saturday the section of fencing ripped away in Dillon’s crash has been repaired, but an analysis of the accident showed the fence did its job.
”It did what it’s supposed to, so we went quickly to repairing it so that we’re ready for racing,” Chitwood said at Chicagoland Speedway, where he announced Can-Am will sponsor the Daytona 500 qualifying races in February.
Daytona rebuilt its catchfences in 2009. Two years ago, after a crash in which Kyle Larson’s car sailed into the fence and debris injured more than two dozen fans, the designs of the crossover gates were altered.
Since then, fans have been moved back roughly 15 feet as part of Daytona’s ongoing $400 million redesign. The project included the removal of the first few rows of grandstands and the construction of a fence that prevents spectators from walking along the ”rim road” that circles the track.
”We’ve made some really nice improvements that put us in as good a position as possible when that incident occurred,” Chitwood said. ”We’ve had incidents the last couple years that aren’t fun. We don’t like that. I don’t like people leaving our property and needing medical attention.”