|Kyle Larson's car (#32) as it flies above the track during|
a crash at Dayton Interntional Speedway Saturday. Larson
was not injured. (Photo Courtesy AP)
Kyle Larson’s first race in NASCAR’s Nationwide Tier-2 Series will be a memorable one. Just 200 hundred feet away from the finish of the season opening race at Dayton International Speedway Saturday, Larson was moving closer into the pack of leaders and all of a sudden a multi-car crunch started.
Larson’s No. 32 Chevrolet got the worse of it. It began to sail into the air, slammed into the fence that separates the track from the spectators. Debris was flying everywhere.
The front of his car sheared off with the burning engine wedged through a hole in the fence. A tire ended up midway up the bleachers.
After the dust and debris settled what was left of his vehicle was sitting on infield of the speedway. A photographer caught an image of Larson standing alongside his race car looking a bit stunned. His protective roll cage saved his life. The entire front half of the car was sheared off.
Media reports wrote that the accident spread into the upper deck and emergency crews treated fans on both levels. Larson later told the Associated Press his first thought was with the fans.
"I hope all the fans are OK and all the drivers are all right," Larson said. "I took a couple big hits there and saw my engine was gone. Just hope everybody's all right."
Larson said in the final lap he was just “along for the ride.”
"I was getting pushed from behind, I felt like, and by the time my spotter said lift or go low, it was too late," Larson said. "I was in the wreck and then felt like it was slowing down and I looked like I could see the ground. Had some flames come in the cockpit, but luckily I was all right and could get out of the car quick."
Tony Stewart won the race as the 12-car crash broke out behind him involving Larson, Regan Smith, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and others.
“The Sporting News” wrote the crash occurred when Smith tried to block Keselowski while battling for the lead. Smith and Keselowski had just passed Stewart for the lead on the backstretch and were headed for the checkered flag when Smith's car got turned into the wall.
Larson, 20, was behind the leaders when he was hit by a spinning car, launching his car wheels-first into the fence and sending car parts flying all around the track.Officially, Larson finished in 13th place.