Although the start of the 2017 racing season has been an exciting one, it has also already resulted in injury. Following a Sprint Car Series crash during last weekend’s DIRTcar World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series qualifying event, the No. 4 of Dale Blaney was heading into turn two when he lost control and his sprint car went airborne. Before coming to rest, Blaney’s car flipped over, crashed through a fence and careened into a crowd of people in a pit area near the stands.
This crash left three fans severely injured, spending their evening at a Halifax Health Medical Center versus at their favorite dirt track. This crash was just another in a series of wild rides at the famed half-mile dirt track, north of DeLeon Springs and east of Barberville, near Daytona Beach Florida. In fact, this accident was the second in four days where a car cleared a fence. Earlier in the week, Joey Saldana’s car flew over the catch fence and into the stands.
According to raceway officials, many of their fans have voiced their opinion, saying that they are aware of the risks in attending a race and that a catch fence wouldn’t always stop a high-powered vehicle from crashing into them.
In an official statement officials from Volusia Speedway Park said, “First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the race fans. We were able to identify one of the participants as Mr. Gary Streek, from the United Kingdom. He is stable and visiting with family and friends. Following the incident, we responded appropriately and according to our safety protocol and had emergency personnel at the scene immediately.”
Although it appears that these three fans will recover and that the drivers involved are continuing to walk away unscathed, it looks like fan safety may become a higher priority for both this dirt track and for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series in the not so distant future.