Area racing facilities take action to protect fans - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Area racing facilities take action to protect fans

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RIPLEY -

Safety is on top mind for many racing fans after a horrific crash over the weekend at Daytona during a NASCAR Nationwide Series Race.

The crash happened on the last lap of Saturday's race sending debris from a damaged car into the stands.

Investigators said 11 people were flown to the hospital and 6 of them are listed as trauma patients. One is still in critical condition.

NASCAR has taken steps over the years to reduce the risk to spectators by installing higher fences.

Several local racing facilities are also taking precautions. I 77 Raceway Park near Ripley has several barriers that separate fans from the action on the track. There are guardrails, a ditch, a steep hillside and fences.

"As far as safety goes we are built in and pretty safe here," said promoter Joseph Rush.

T.J. Layne is the track promoter at Southern Ohio Raceway in Wheelersburg, Ohio.

"Accidents like what happened at Daytona on Saturday always makes you look at additional things you can do to make your facility safer," Layne said. "We are going to further evaluate where we allow people to view races from in higher risk areas such as the pit area and also look at some additional things we can do with our catch fencing."

Portsmouth Raceway is also taking precautions.  "Being the home of the Dirt Track World Championship, we definitely  want to insure safety for everyone," said promoter Donna Rayburn. "Our catch fence is inspected on a regular basis and meets all rules and regulations.  Racing is a family sport and we want everyone involved to have a good time when visiting our facility." 

To find out more about the various tracks and even to watch some wrecks that have happened at the facilities follow the links. No drivers or fans were injured in the wrecks.