What started out as just another day at the raceway for diehard NASCAR fans, took an unexpected sharp turn. One day before the Daytona 500, Whitney Turner became a victim of a raceway tragedy.
On Saturday Feb. 23, as Turner watched the Nationwide Series opener from the front row, driver Kyle Larson’s car, hit the catch fence during the last lap at Daytona International Speedway. More than two-dozen fans, including Turner, were injured by debris from the racecar. Only seven fans were taken to the hospital in Daytona Beach. Five of the fans were released shortly after the incident. A hospital spokesperson told ESPN.com that the remaining two fans were in stable condition.
Turner described the crash as a, “horror movie that played out in real life.” Like a real life “final destination” scene. Sources claim that Turner has acquired an attorney in hopes to receive compensation for medical bills.
I asked the biggest NASCAR fan that I know personally what his thoughts were on the incident. He replied with, “That’s a risk you take. No one told them to sit 15 feet from 42 cars going 190 miles per hour…the car never reached the stands, just little pieces so the catch fence worked.”
When you, or if you, attend a baseball game, there is a possibility of catching a foul ball or maybe even a home run. Unless you’re not paying attention and it hits you square in the head. With the knowledge that something along those lines can occur, guests still enter the stadium at risk. Although the ratios of foul balls to debris from cars flying into the stands are slim to none, this incident didn’t come as a surprise.It is understood where Turner is coming from by obtaining an attorney for compensation. However, the side of my interviewee is also understood. Yes, it is very unfortunate for an incident like this to occur, but is it completely unexpected?
With the ‘buyer beware’ mentality, incidents like these may come as less as a surprise. It is no secret that incidents come with the territory; hence the injury waivers on the back of the NASCAR event ticket. It is expected to have over fifty lawsuits to be filed against NASCAR since that was the same amount after a tire flew into the stands in 1999, killing three people. The case was settled for about 10 to 15 million dollars before it went to trial.
As much as we enjoy acting like the victim in situations, lets face it. Pointing fingers at NASCAR and their ways of safety, doesn’t hide the fact that you bought the ticket to sit as close as you can to 42 cars driving 190 miles per hour. The lesson that is put into light in this article is that things happen.