DiZinno: Daytona fence crash ripple effect could extend to other motorsports

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The prevailing mindset I had immediately following the wee hours of Sunday night, into Monday morning’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway was very simply, “they got away with one.”

After watching both the Verizon IndyCar Series’ MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway last week and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona last night (or early this morning), the stark difference between the type of racing at the respective high-speed tracks couldn’t have been more obvious.

For cries that the MAVTV 500 IndyCar race was pack racing… no, it wasn’t.

The typical restrictor-plate style of racing at Daytona, with upwards of 20-30 cars usually 10 to 12 rows deep either two or three-wide, had its usual consequences.

It again reared its ugly head, again ended with a car careening into the catch fencing in the final lap, and again showcased the immediate, obvious and persistent danger that exists from this type of racing.

And again showed how fine of a line that type of racing is flirting with disaster that could have far-reaching repercussions beyond the series itself.

From a pure carnage standpoint, Sunday night’s NASCAR race had four crashes involving eight cars or more.

Last week’s IndyCar race had three two-car crashes.

Sunday night’s NASCAR race went a full two laps before the first caution flag flew.

Last week’s IndyCar race didn’t see a yellow interruption until Lap 136.

The similarities are that both races ended with severe accidents, but their severity differed in magnitude.

The Ryan Briscoe/Ryan Hunter-Reay accident in Fontana ended better than it could have given how Briscoe’s car dug into the grass and flipped upside down before coming back down to earth. The likable Australian was OK, and even joked about tearing up a divot in a video posted mere hours after the race.

And likewise, the last of the “big ones” where Austin Dillon’s car was launched and almost thrown into the catch-fencing ended better than it could have, too. The car sprung back from the fence onto the track, and although some debris got through the catch-fence, it was not the magnitude that it could have been. Dillon emerged nearly 100 percent unscathed, save for a bruised tailbone.

Where restrictor-plate racing flirts far too closely with going over the line is in airborne accidents that launch cars directly into the catch-fencing.

Although IndyCar has had its share of airborne accidents this year, and that’s not a good thing, none have occurred in the same type of way that ones at Daytona or Talladega seem to occur: directly in front of tens of thousands of paying customers, fans, who don’t buy their tickets thinking they could become part of the story, or the action.

It’s happened way too frequently in recent years at Daytona. The Kyle Larson last-lap accident a couple years ago in the NASCAR Xfinity (then Nationwide) Series race that injured more than 30 fans should have been the trigger for change… and it wasn’t.

It came a year after Joey Coulter’s accident in a Camping World Truck Series race.

It came a year before Parker Kligerman’s accident in the tri-oval in practice for the Daytona 500.

It has now been exceeded in shock value by Dillon’s wreck, which clearly scarred the drivers from their post-race quotes.

The specter of fans being hurt, or worse, killed, is the single biggest story that could emerge from Sunday night’s race.

We live in an era where innocence getting attacked is the thing that sends shock waves down your spine.

It’s what’s happened in numerous national instances the last few years; it rarely inspires any change, but it should be enough to get you angry and want to shout loud enough about the situation that the right people that need to listen do so.

Sunday night’s NASCAR race was a NASCAR story that has tentacles extending to other forms of motorsport, and could affect them if they’re not careful or change before a major tragedy strikes.

For more reaction from last night’s race, head over to NASCAR Talk.

Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

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“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

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Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

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Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

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