AMS looks at safety improvements after serious Daytona speedway crash

by: Diana Davis Updated:

The speedway fence along the grandstand at AMS is 21 feet high and is reenforced with thick steel cables.

HAMPTON, Ga. - Race tracks across the country are looking at what they can do to improve safety after a serious wreck injured dozens of people at the Daytona Motor Speedway over the weekend.

A race car smashed into the crash fence Saturday, tearing a hole in it and sending debris flying into the grandstands, hitting spectators.

Medical teams loaded fans hit by debris onto stretchers. Some were sitting on the upper deck of the grandstands.

Monday afternoon, more than two dozen victims were still recovering in Daytona area hospitals.

The crash has raised questions about the safety of fans at race tracks.

Channel 2's Diana Davis went to the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton to take a look at the precautions that are being taken at the track.

Track President and General Manager Ed Clark told Davis NASCAR is already looking into what can be done to improve safety.

"They're going to take the car that was involved in the incident back to their (research and development) center in Charlotte. I'm sure at some point as a follow-up to that they will get with us. And if there's anything we can do to improve the safety conditions at the track, all of us that operate tracks in NASCAR will be addressing that," Clark said.

Clark said his team does yearly safety reviews. He said they raised the height of the catch fence a few years ago.

The speedway fence along the grandstand is 21-feet-high and is reenforced with thick steel cables.

"Our fence here is anywhere from 22-24 strands of steel cable," Clark said as he showed her the cables along the track.

Clark said if a car should go airborne during a race, the catch fence is designed to throw the car back on the track.

"And it's always done its job. We don't have history of failure at all," Clark said.

With cars racing near 200 mph, Clark said not only the Atlanta Motor Speedway, but NASCAR in general, has good safety records.

"When you have that number of people, things can happen. But as far as NASCAR goes, we're pretty proud of our safety record," Clark said.

The next NASCAR race scheduled at the Atlanta Motor Speedway is Labor Day weekend.