24 February 2013
Smith takes blame for Daytona smash
"I was right in the middle of it going backwards through the grass," he said. "I've got a lot of grass on me. I was told this wasn't a dirt race, but I always seem to find a way."
Pastrana, who went on to finish in tenth place, had also been involved in an 11-car wreck half an hour before which had caused a 20 minute red flag for clear-up operations.
"I saw the #43 take a hard, hard right about an inch in front of me at about 190 and, I tell you what, if that doesn't get your heart going, nothing will," he explained. "It was wild."
Only one driver ended up being hospitalised on Saturday afternoon, and that was as a result of that previous multi-car crash half an hour before the end. Richard Petty Motorsport subsequently released a statement regarding the condition of the driver of their #43 car.
"Michael Annett is currently being treated at the Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. after an accident during Saturday's Nationwide Series event. He will be kept for observation," said the team.
"Annett was transported to the hospital after complaining of pain in his chest and sternum. Annett was treated for bruising on his chest and underwent a CT Scan," the team added. He was kept in hospital overnight and discharged on Sunday morning; he will need further assessment before being cleared to race at next week's event in Phoenix.
NASCAR's senior vice president for racing operations Steve O'Donnell said that an investigation would be held into the crash and lessons would be learned.
"Certainly when you look at this incident, there are some things we can learn and evaluate. We'll take the car, we'll do that. We'll evaluate the fencing and see if there's anything we can learn," he said. “I think we need to take the time to really study it and see what we can improve on. If we can, certainly the safety of our fans is first and foremost and we'll make that happen," O'Donnell promised.
"The biggest thing we know is we don't know everything we need to know because there are moments that occur that we've just never seen before and can't really plan for," added NASCAR president Mike Helton on Saturday evening. "That's evidenced everywhere we go with the fences, cables, structures, and the gaps between the racetrack and the seating area. We're always made aware of the fact that we don't know everything."
NASCAR and track officials confirmed that the Daytona 500 would proceed as scheduled on Sunday afternoon, and that all necessary repairs to the fencing and seating would be complete in time. “We don't anticipate moving any of our fans," said Chitwood.
The track president insisted that there would be no changes needed to the spectator area on the grounds of safety.
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