Fire at the Daytona 500

Central Florida may be well known for its orange groves as well as Disney, but sports fans have a different experience while in central Florida. Daytona Beach Florida is home to the Daytona 500 race track which is notorious for attracting large groups of people from around the world. Recently, during a race on the track, a fire broke out. The crash occurred during the 160th lap into the 54th edition of the Great American Race and it shocked many viewers. When the fire erupted, safety workers and medics tried to extinguish the fire coming from a jet dryer immediately after it was hit by Juan Pablo Montoya. Reporters say Montoya was racing around the track trying to keep up when he lost control of his car and crashed into a jet dryer that had debris coming off of it. Fuel was then seen pouring out of the jet dryer which ignited the initial flame. Once the flame erupted, a line of fire entered the track from where the fuel spilled. The flames reportedly reached as high as 20 to 30 feet off the ground. Luckily, Montoya got out of his car unhurt however; the driver of the jet dryer was rushed to the local Daytona hospital. The injured driver was treated and has been released. During an interview, Montoya stated that after he pulled out of the pits of the track, he felt a weird vibration. He then said he decreased his speed even thought he was not going very fast to begin with. He knew that something was wrong and sure enough, his car lost control and ran into the jet dryer. Spectators claim that the fire was so untamed that Montoya’s car completely disintegrated ending the race completely. This caused the whole event to be red flagged while safety staff attempted to extinguish the fire. After the fire was extinguished, officials had a difficult time removing the car from the track because it no longer had any tires. As of now, NASCAR is now looking into the accident and they are performing an intense inspection on the track to see if it was the cause of the crash. Steve Letearte, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. stated that the track may not be operable enough to continue racing on until further notice. This is the second time in three years the Daytona 500 has been halted because of an issue with the track, the question is, when will  NASCAR take the initiative to actually repair the track before another crash or accident occurs.


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