Lawsuits coming after Daytona accident?

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When you go to a race as a fan, the last thing you should expect or fear is accident debris entering the grandstands.

That’s why some of those injured in last Saturday’s accident in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway could be exploring legal action.

An Orlando-based lawyer for fans injured, Matt Morgan, told the AP he hopes to reach a settlement with NASCAR to avoid any lawsuits.

A NASCAR spokesman said he was not aware of any lawsuits, while a Daytona spokesman said they would not comment on pending litigation.

There are several aspects of what led to this accident. The Nationwide cars have lesser horsepower than the Sprint Cup Series, and while the Sprint Cup’s new Generation 6 car ran primarily in single file formation throughout the Daytona 500, the Nationwide cars ran more in a huge pack. That meant a greater likelihood of a “big one” accident.

Additionally, the accident itself was triggered by contact between leader Regan Smith and Brad Keselowski behind him. When Keselowski pulled out to pass as the field headed into the tri-oval, Smith moved to defend but came too far over on top of him. That triggered the chaos and the speed of cars behind them helped send Kyle Larson’s car airborne and into the catch fencing.

Keselowski was also involved in NASCAR’s last two car-into-fence moments, each with Carl Edwards. Going for the win at Talladega in April 2009, Keselowski and Edwards collided with Edwards’ car spiraling airborne and careening off the fencing, in front of the grandstands. Edwards retaliated on Keselowski in a Sprint Cup race at Atlanta in 2010.

The litigation may pass, but the discussion about both the catch fencing and the style of racing that has caused these accidents has only just begun. For more, see “IndyCar champions seek fence changes.”

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.