11 Spectators Hurt In Speedway Crash UPDATE A co-owner of the Columbus Motor Speedway said he is optimistic that the track will reopen for this weekend's races after a crash injured 12 spectators Saturday night.
The wreck left a 5-foot-wide hole in a 4-foot-high concrete restraining wall ringing the speedway. Jeff Nuckles said he hoped a repair crew would fix it this week, in time for the track to host its normal Saturday night stock car races.
But safety is the speedway's priority, he said -- proper planning and construction actually kept the spectators from being injured more severely. Hamilton Township Fire Chief Jerry Lupfer, whose department responded to the crash on Saturday, said yesterday that the restraining wall appeared to have done its job.
"I think it worked, and I think the catch fence worked," he said.
Two school buses were racing as part of a "Crash-A-Rama" at the speedway in Obetz when one hit the other and both crashed into the wall in front of a grandstand. Flying chunks of the wall hit spectators, although most of the people injured were actually leaning on a fence in front of or at the side of the grandstand, Lupfer said. There is a gap of several feet between the wall and the fence.
A separate fence rises above the wall to protect spectators from debris flying from the track.
Ten of the 12 injured spectators were taken to local hospitals with mostly minor injuries. Six were children.
Two people were taken to Grant Medical Center as possible serious trauma cases, but their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Lupfer said. None of the spectators' names or conditions was available yesterday. Columbus Dispatch05/24/09 At least three people were critically injured and eight others were taken to hospitals after two buses crashed into a wall in front of the grandstand at the Columbus Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
The crash occurred at about 10:35 p.m. during a Crash-A-Rama event, 10TV's Kevin Landers reported.
Two school buses were racing figure eights on the track when the lead bus was hit from behind by another bus. Video taken from the speedway showed the lead bus crashing into a concrete restraining wall. The impact caused the concrete to fly into the crowd.
"To us, it looked like small pieces of concrete and dust coming into the crowd," said Lisa Hoyt, who was a spectator in the race. "It just looked like the concrete busted up into small pieces and went flying."
Witnesses said that it did not seem that the buses were traveling fast at the time of the crash. More at WBNS.com