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BMS general manager responds to Daytona crash

By Paul Johnson
Published On: Feb 25 2013 08:52:12 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 24 2013 11:00:00 PM CST

It’s every race tracks biggest nightmare; a crash that spills into the stands.

BRISTOL, Tenn. -

It’s every race track's biggest nightmare -- a crash that spills into the stands.

During Saturday’s Nationwide race, a car was ripped in half and then smashed into the catch fence at Daytona. Although the fence did its job, pieces of debris, including a tire, made it over the fence and injured 28 people.

Could something like that happen in Bristol?  BMS general manager Jerry Caldwell says it is unlikely. 'It is apples and oranges comparing what happened in Daytona to what might happen in Bristol. Again, I can never predict but they are going over 200 mph [in Daytona], and here you just don’t get up to that speed,” he explained.

A car into the fence has happened at BMS before. The most famous instance took place in June of 1996. While competing in the truck race, Mike Bliss went sliding down the front stretch and ripped a huge hole in the fence.

It delayed the race by more than two hours.

In 2007, the track was reconfigured and a new catch fence was installed. The new fence is taller and stronger.

Caldwell says he and his staff are constantly re-evaluating safety measures before and after every race. “We will look at Daytona’s response. We will evaluate, but I feel very confident where we are,” he told us. 

Race fans understand the dangers of NASCAR and accept it, and that's why Caldwell says they are the best fans in sports.