Daytona International Speedway reaches settlements with 9 victims of 2013 wreck that sent debris into grandstands

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Nine of the more than two dozen fans who were injured during the NASCAR Nationwide Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 23, 2013 have settled claims against the racetrack.

The Daytona Beach (Fla.) Journal reported Friday that no monetary terms would be announced by either the victims’ law firm, Morgan and Morgan, or International Speedway Corporation, which owns DIS.

“I can say that we have reached settlements with several claimants related to the incident, but as has been our practice throughout, we are not going to discuss any of the details,” ISC spokesman Lenny Santiago said, adding that it was “in the interest of the privacy of the fans involved.”

Morgan and Morgan attorney Andrew Felix told the Journal, “The parties have amicably resolved the matters.”

At least 28 fans were injured – with half that total requiring hospitalization afterward – when debris from an on-track, multi-car wreck flew into the grandstands in the final lap of the Drive4COPD 300 NNS race. The debris included shrapnel from the wrecked race cars, as well as at least one tire.

Kyle Larson, who is now a rookie in the Sprint Cup Series, was uninjured in the crash, even though his car was sheared in half and almost completely obliterated.

Several claims by other victims remain unresolved.

The Speedway has since extensively reinforced catch fencing and crossover gates in the area where the accident occurred, as well as other areas along the frontstretch.

DIS is currently undergoing a $400 million renovation, the largest and most expansive project since the track opened in 1959. The renovation is being done in phases and will not affect any upcoming races, including the Coke Zero 400 in early July.

The entire renovation project is expected to be completed prior to the 2016 Daytona 500.

After the crash, the Speedway improved the crossover gates which were identified as weak spots on the safety fence at the track.

A video of the wreck is below:

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Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

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There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.