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Lawsuits coming after Daytona accident?

Feb 27, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

Regan Smith_Getty Getty Images

When you go to a race as a fan, the last thing you should expect or fear is accident debris entering the grandstands.

That’s why some of those injured in last Saturday’s accident in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway could be exploring legal action.

An Orlando-based lawyer for fans injured, Matt Morgan, told the AP he hopes to reach a settlement with NASCAR to avoid any lawsuits.

A NASCAR spokesman said he was not aware of any lawsuits, while a Daytona spokesman said they would not comment on pending litigation.

There are several aspects of what led to this accident. The Nationwide cars have lesser horsepower than the Sprint Cup Series, and while the Sprint Cup’s new Generation 6 car ran primarily in single file formation throughout the Daytona 500, the Nationwide cars ran more in a huge pack. That meant a greater likelihood of a “big one” accident.

Additionally, the accident itself was triggered by contact between leader Regan Smith and Brad Keselowski behind him. When Keselowski pulled out to pass as the field headed into the tri-oval, Smith moved to defend but came too far over on top of him. That triggered the chaos and the speed of cars behind them helped send Kyle Larson’s car airborne and into the catch fencing.

Keselowski was also involved in NASCAR’s last two car-into-fence moments, each with Carl Edwards. Going for the win at Talladega in April 2009, Keselowski and Edwards collided with Edwards’ car spiraling airborne and careening off the fencing, in front of the grandstands. Edwards retaliated on Keselowski in a Sprint Cup race at Atlanta in 2010.

The litigation may pass, but the discussion about both the catch fencing and the style of racing that has caused these accidents has only just begun. For more, see “IndyCar champions seek fence changes.”

  1. wethog66 - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    If a lawsuit leads to the end of the BS style of racing we witnessed this past Sunday I am all for it.

    Having said that, I would have to believe NASCAR and the tracks have disclaimers on their tickets that say “watch out for flying pieces of…” just like baseball for instance. Especially after the wreck that took place during a truck series race like 10 years ago. I think one of the Bodine brothers were involved where a truck got into the fence.

  2. winged warrior - Feb 28, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    As a lifelong racing attendee, I disagree that you shouldn’t expect even the most remote possibility of being inflicted by mishap. No matter what race you attend, no matter how stringent the safety precautions, there will always be an inherent danger to everyone on the property.

    As far as NASCAR goes, I doubt any neglect can be proven in the courts – if anything, NASCAR goes above and beyond the industry standard in assurance of safety to all involved.

    This is certainly not a legal area NASCAR will surrender to. If this proverbial ‘can of worms’ were to be opened, it would probably end this sport as we know it.

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