Twenty-eight spectators were injured at the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, the day before the Daytona 500, after a 12-car pileup sent a car into the stands. Is car racing the most dangerous sport for spectators?
Attending car races has its risks, but most people who die or suffer injuries at professional car races are drivers and field marshals. According to a study by the Charlotte Observer, 46 spectators died at motorsport events between 1990 and 2010, though none of these deaths occurred at a NASCAR race. A few NASCAR crashes have injured spectators, including a 1987 Talladega accident in which debris from Bobby Allison’s car flew into the grandstand and a 2009 Talladega accident in which Carl Edwards’ car flipped into the catch fence. The worst motorsport crash in history occurred at the 24-hour Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency in Le Mans in 1955; after 83 spectators died in that crash, better safety measures were adopted throughout motorsports.