DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -

Race car fans are still trying to comprehend the crash that has stunned everyone at Daytona International Speedway.

"You know it when you come here and you hope it doesn't happen," said Mike Buehner.

Buehner and his friends, Chuck Dunton and Mike Osborne, say they were close to the impact.

Dunton said the entire stadium went from cheering their favorite driver to silence.

"I actually saw the tire fly into the stands," said Dunton. "Everyone was worried about the people in the audience making sure they were alright. We didn't really even care who crossed the finish line."

Marc Messerschmitt recalls tire smoke and cars flipping

"It looked like one of the most horrific crashes I've ever been to," said Messerschmitt. "I've been to a lot of races in 25 years. This one stands out in my mind."

But Messerschmitt said he walked away with a unique souvenir from many of the car parts that ended up on pit road.

"I took this bumper off the 99 car that finished in 3rd place today," said Messerschmitt. "This will be hanging over my couch Monday night."

Despite the crash, race fans say they realize high speeds come with high risks.

"No, it's not going to stop me from coming back at all," said Lisa Lacey. "You're a race fan. You're in the stands."

"Absolutely I'd be back tomorrow if I was sitting in the same area, same section," said Buehner.