Local man witnesses Daytona crash
Mark Taylor and his friend Shawn were visiting Mark's son in college when they all decided to get tickets to the Daytona 500 race. Video by kgun9.comvideo
Mark Taylor, his son, and their friend Shawn braving the grandstands at Daytona 500 the day after the crash. Image by Mark Taylor
Mark, his son, and Shawn in front of the fixed fence Image by Mark Taylor
The fence right after the crash
The fence right after the crash.
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Mark Taylor and his friend Shawn were visiting Mark's son in college when they all decided to get tickets to the Daytona 500 race.
They snagged great seats in the 12th row right before the finish line, but excitement quickly turned into fear yesterday when they were right on the front lines of a terrifying crash.
During the final lap of yesterday's second-tier nationwide series race, a tight race caused rookie Kyle Larson to crash into the cars in front of him.
Larson's car went airborne, slamming into the fence separating fans from the raceway.
Firey debris injured at least 33 fans in the grandstands, and Tucson's Mark Taylor was right in the middle of all of it.
"I was watching this car almost in slow motion," Mark said. "The bottom of the car got right in front of me and it just blew up. And just...pieces went everywhere."
Although some of the car's oil did hit Mark, he was not hurt.
But, he was lucky.
Mark said fans in front of him and behind him were all injured, and a tire from the car landed just to the right of him.
Speedway president Joie Chitwood said 14 fans were treated at the raceway, and local officials said 19 fans were taken to hospitals in the area.
Two fans were originally listed in critical condition, but were later upgraded to stable condition.
The hole the crash made to the fence has been fixed for today's final race.
While Mark returned to the raceway today and is sitting in the same seats he sat in yesterday, he told me his section was pretty empty.
Mark said that may be because fans are still in the hospital, and others he said may just be nervous to be there.
Speedway officials did announce that they would move anyone to different seats if they felt uncomfortable.