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Fans in disbelief after NASCAR crash

On Saturday 30 fans were injured when NASCAR driver Kyle Larson's car crashed and chunks of debris flew into the stands in Daytona.

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Kyle Larson's car (32) gets airborne during a multi-car wreck on the final lap of the NASCAR Nationwide Series auto race Saturday, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

David Graham/AP

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The risks of racing extend beyond the drivers.

Fans can wind up in the danger zone, too.

A horrifying crash on the last lap of a race at Daytona International Speedway injured at least 30 fans Saturday and provided another stark reminder of what can happen when a car going nearly 200 mph is suddenly launched toward the spectator areas.

The victims were sprayed with large chunks of debris β€” including a tire β€” after rookie Kyle Larson's machine careened into the fencing that is designed to protect the massive grandstands lining NASCAR's most famous track.

"I love the sport," said Shannan Devine, who witnessed the carnage from her 19th-row seat, about 250 feet away. "But no one wants to get hurt over it."

The fencing served its primary purpose, catapulting what was left of Larson's car back onto the track. But it didn't keep potentially lethal shards from flying into the stands.

"There was absolute shock," Devine said. "People were saying, 'I can't believe it, I can't believe it. I've never seen this happen, I've never seen this happen. Did the car through the fence?' It was just shock and awe. Grown men were reaching out and grabbing someone, saying, 'Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!' It was just disbelief, absolute disbelief."

From Daytona to Le Mans to a rural road in Ireland, auto racing spectators have long been too close to the action when parts start flying. The crash in the second-tier Nationwide race follows a long list of accidents that have left fans dead or injured.

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