DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Three of the dozens of race fans that were injured during a horrific crash at Daytona International Speedway during a NASCAR race have hired a local law group to investigate.
Orlando attorney Matt Morgan is representing the three victims, two from Florida and one from out-of-state, held a news conference on Tuesday after more than two dozen spectators were hurt in the Saturday crash during the Nationwide Series race, which was captured on cellphone video (warning, content may be graphic) and sent debris into the grandstands.
Morgan told Local 6 he believes the crash is a case of gross negligence. As a NASCAR fan himself, Morgan said he's been to the Speedway many times and says no fan could ever foresee car parts crashing through the catch fence and flying into the stands.
"When you go to a race, people assume a certain amount of risk, but you don't assume a NASCAR flying into the stands," Morgan said, commenting that he thinks the disclaimer on the back of a ticket stating "you assume all risk and release the Speedway of all claims" would never stand up in court.
Morgan said they will be questioning the manufacturer of the fence after he says a similar crash in Talladega raised questions about the safety of the catch fence around tracks. Daytona International Speedway had engineers install new fencing based on new safety recommendations during the 2010 season.
"What we have to investigate is what was done, and was there a safer fence that wasn't put in place because of monetary considerations," he said.
Jake McCabe tells Local 6 he sat five rows above the track during the Nationwide Series race when Kyle Larson's car was sent airborne."
"I saw an explosion and dust and smoke, shrapnel from the engine come at me, that's when I dropped down," McCabe said.
McCabe said he would sit in the same seats next year, but hopefully new safety measures will be in place by then.
"I think there should be safety innovations and NASCAR to work toward changing that," he said.
Speedway officials didn't release the name of the manufacturer of the fence, pending a comprehensive review.
The three victims were not present at the news conference, as they are still hospitalized for injuries ranging from severe bruising to a broken leg.