Video, photos: Austin Dillon’s horrific NASCAR crash at Daytona injures fans

As for what’s next, track president Joie Chitwood, III points to the ongoing $400 million overhaul called Daytona Rising, which includes new safety measures. “We did this after the last incident [a 2013 Xfinity Series race]. We’ll learn from it. We’ll analyze it. We’ll round up our engineering team and see if there’s any additional things we can learn to get better the next time“. “I think our speeds are too high, I really do”.

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“It’s not the greatest feeling in the world …” he said of the wreck.

The next race is the Quaker State 400 presented by Advanced Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway. Denny Hamlin spun and cars stacked up, including Dillon, who was hit from behind. The fence was twisted and mangled.

“They’ll take the vehicle and look at it, look at the fence”, said Dillon. One was taken to the hospital in stable condition. It ended with Dillon’s horrific crash, which grabbed more headlines than race victor Dale Earnhardt Jr. “You just hope you make it through”.

“That scared the hell out of me, I’ll be honest with you”.

Solutions to the problem of cars lifting into the air and creating the potential for injuries to fans are hard to find, said Evernham, who won three Cup titles with Jeff Gordon, in 1995, ’97 and ’98. “The racing doesn’t matter anymore”. “I saw it in the mirror and I expected the worse when it came back around”, said Indiana native, Jimmie Johnson. He went on to thank everybody for their concern on Twiiter, just a few hours after the life-threatening crash.

France said NASCAR has a safety group dedicated to improve that aspect of the sport.

When the race finally began, and the field circled the track waiting for the green flag, reigning NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick made note of the unusual start time by wishing his crew a good evening before correcting himself to morning. “We are pleased with the performance of the race cars protecting the drivers“.

As fans and drivers struggled to process the crash early Monday morning, driver Ryan Newman criticized NASCAR and restrictor plate racing.

NASCAR stock cars weigh 3,500 pounds and can reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour.

Officials with the track and NASCAR said they will evaluate the performance of the catch fence. Monday’s crash didn’t happen in one of those areas, and tracks don’t always publicize any changes to their fencing, which is a mix of mesh, steel cables and poles. The catch fence had an estimated 60-foot wide hole, and debris was everywhere, including in the stands.

NBC Sports reported three fans were treated with minor injuries from debris flying into the stands. The project will include replacing the entire catch fence.

Amazingly, Dillon walked out of the vehicle unscathed, but he-and several other drivers-was pretty upset about the whole thing.

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“This scares the daylights out of everybody that operates a racetrack”, said Wheeler.

Austin Dillon NASCAR 2015