2/23/2013 10:15 PM
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - At least 33 NASCAR fans are recovering from injuries they received when a car flew into the fence at Daytona International Speedway, hurling a tire and large pieces of debris into the stands.
The accident happened on the last lap of the second-tier Nationwide Series race on the eve of Sunday's Daytona 500, which officials say will go on as scheduled.
The crash began as the field approached the checkered flag and leader Regan Smith attempted to block Brad Keselowski to preserve the win. That triggered a chain reaction, and rookie Kyle Larson hit the cars in front of him and went airborne into the fence.
The entire front end was sheared off Larson's car, and his burning engine wedged through a gaping hole in the fence. Chunks of debris from the car were thrown into the stands.
There were no fatalities.
Speedway President Joie Chitwood says 14 fans were treated on site. Local officials say 19 fans were taken to neighboring hospitals, including two who were arrived in critical condition but were later listed in stable condition.
Tony Stewart won the race, but skipped the traditional post-race celebration.