DAYTONA, Fla. — Tony Stewart won a race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, but the celebration was muted by a spectacular 12-car accident that sent one car into the fence and two of its tires and the engine to the other side.Fourteen spectators were taken to a hospital, and 14 others were treated at the speedway, track president Joie Chitwood III said. Earlier, Speed television reported that Halifax Medical Center, located a quarter-mile away, said it had six patients with trauma from the track, one critical, and that all were stable.Chitwood said the track is being repaired to be ready for racing as normal Sunday and that the section where the debris landed will not be closed.Video of the accident showed the car of rookie Kyle Larson being hit from behind, spinning, going airborne and hitting the fence with its nose. The front of the car sheared off, then landed and came to rest on the infield grass. The 20-year-old Larson climbed out on his own.Stewart made his way through the crash to win the race, his seventh victory in the Nationwide Series event at Daytona in the past nine years. But his mind was on the accident.Weve always known since racing started, this is a dangerous sport, Stewart said in television interviews in Victory Lane. But its hard. We assume that risk, but its hard when the fans get caught up in it. ... I could see it all in my mirror, and it didnt look good from where I was at.The accident, a day before the running of the biggest race in the sport, the Daytona 500, happened when Regan Smith went to block Brad Keselowskis charge to the finish line. It caused a chain reaction that eventually resulted in Brian Scott slamming into the back of Larsons car, lifting it out of a spin and sending it airborne.None of the drivers in the accident were hurt.I feel good, but Im not sure what ended up where, Larson said. I took a couple of big hits, and I saw my engine was gone. I could see the ground and flames but I was all right.Debris from Larsons car landed in the grandstand and reached the upper deck. Cellphone pictures and video from spectators showed a tire in the seating area.Emergency workers treated fans in the stands, and some were carried out on stretchers.Keselowski didnt blame Larson for the move that caused the accident.He felt like thats what he had to do, and thats his right. The chaos comes with it, Keselowski said. I made the move and he blocked it, and the two of us got together and started the chain of events that caused that wreck.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez