Seven fans injured in Edwards wreck
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Seven spectators suffered injuries at the end of the Aaron's 499 Sunday when the No. 99 Ford of Carl Edwards went airborne and slammed into the catch fence on the frontstretch, and an eighth was treated for an unrelated medical problem.
"None of the injuries are dangerous or life-threatening," said Dr. Bobby Lewis, medical director at Talladega Superspeedway. "It's mostly bumps and bruises with possible minor fractures."
Two women were airlifted to area hospitals, but Lewis said that was for traffic concerns and not because of the severity of their conditions.
Lewis said one, who was taken to UAB Hospital, likely had a broken jaw and also had a cut on her mouth. The other was transported to Brookwood Hospital because of an unspecified medical condition but was not hurt.
Edwards was leading the race about 500 yards before the finish line when he tried to block Brad Keselowski from passing him. But Edwards hit the right front quarter panel of Keselowski's car.
It caused Edwards' car to spin before it came off the pavement and flew into the fencing above the outside wall.
"NASCAR puts us in this box [restrictor-plate racing] and will race this way until they kill somebody," Edwards said. "Then they'll change it. We're very lucky nobody got [seriously] hurt today."
When the car hit the catch fence, pieces exploded off the car as the fence bent back severely but did not break.
The other injured fans were treated and released, with two choosing to seek treatment locally from their own doctors, track spokeswoman Kristi King said. It wasn't clear if the fans were hit by debris from the car or the fence.
"The fence was damaged and pieces of that were flying," Lewis said.
Keselowski emphasized he was thankful that no one was seriously injured but said there is some entertainment value to crashes.
"I don't want to wreck anyone, but to say a no-contact sport is fun, I don't buy that," he said. "These guys want to see contact just as much as I want to give it and take it."
Some fans agreed. Asked if the wrecks were part of the show, Tim Apfel of southern Florida said, "The last two races were great. I hate to say it that way."
His friend, Will Klima, said that he's certain high-speed crashes are scary for drivers, "but when they get out of the car, you see why they spend so much to protect them."
As for the fans, Klima said he feels safe sitting in the grandstands.
"I wouldn't come here if I didn't. The fence is high enough and they put you far enough away," he said, adding: "Things happen."
Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.