Since 1959, racers and fans alike have gathered at Daytona International Speedway in February for the Great American Race.
On Sunday, NASCAR’s Sprint Cup competitors will race with heavy hearts in the Daytona 500 after at least 28 people — with reports of more — were injured in the frontstretch grandstand on the final lap of the Nationwide Series event after Kyle Larson’s car catapulted into the catchfence.
But race they will.
“We've always known since racing was started this is a dangerous sport,” said Saturday’s winner and three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart. “But it's hard. We assume that risk. It's hard when the fans get caught up in it.
“As much as we want to celebrate right now, as much as this is a big deal to us, I'm more worried about the drivers and fans in the stands right now. I could see it all in the mirror, and it didn't look good from where I was, either.
“It's like you want to put on good races, but not at the risk of the drivers and the fans like this. It's a hard thing for NASCAR. There's no easy solution, never has been. NASCAR is an extremely smart group. They're doing everything they can to keep this from happening. That's the main thing.”