Feb 23, 2013 7:00 PM by John Newsome and Joe Carter, CNN

15 hurt after debris flies into stands at Daytona

DAYTONA, FL - Debris flew into the stands, injuring a number of spectators, during a crash Saturday during the final turn of a NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway.

The multi-car crash occurred near the end of the Nationwide Series Drive4COPD 300 race at the same Florida track where Sunday's Daytona 500 will be held.

Several closely-packed cars were jostling for position when they got tangled up, setting off a dangerous chain reaction that ensnared a number of vehicles. Tony Stewart somehow emerged unscathed and ended up winning the race.

Driver Kyle Larson's vehicle ended up flying into a fence that separates the track from spectators. It broke into pieces -- including tires and a fiery engine. Larson walked away from the crash.

There were no reports of injuries to other drivers involved in the crash.

Some of the shredded debris flew into the barrier, while others got into the stands -- some of it reaching the second level of the stands about 20 feet up.

Video after the race showed the front part of Larson's No. 32 car completely gone.

Afterward, several spectators could be seen lying down after apparently suffering injuries. It was not immediately known how severe the injuries might be.

A line of about 10 ambulances afterward lined up on the track, with some first responders carrying stretchers.

NASCAR president Mike Helton later told ESPN, which was broadcasting the race, some people were being taken to Halifax Medical Center. He said the protective fence did its job in preventing potentially more injuries and possibly deaths.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with everybody (the first responders) are working on," Helton said.


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