The nightmare at Daytona shocks sports

Take a minute to imagine something for me. Picture yourself getting tickets to your favorite sporting event. Getting all excited about going, glancing at the clock every few minutes in the days leading up to it, wishing time would speed up so you could go sooner. Then imagine that you have great seats, close enough that you can almost taste — heck, you CAN taste it.

Despite excitement, it was a scary scene at Dayton. (AP Photo)

Then imagine a hunk of burning metal hurtling towards you at high speed, with no hope of escaping injury.

This is what happened to quite a few people this past weekend at NASCAR’s opening event.

Now, this isn’t a news story about what happened. You’ve probably seen or heard plenty of those recently, and I’m not about to add to them. So this is more of a question.

How the flying freak did that just happen?

Seriously, we live in an age of technology where the driver of the car that wrecked walked away with barely a scratch, yet 28 people were hit by the wreckage? Do NASCAR officials think that a lousy little chain-link fence is going to stop cars going upwards of 100 mph from hitting the fans sitting right stinking there?

There are a lot of arguments to be had about NASCAR. There are issues of driver safety, whether it should be considered a sport at all, and, of course, whatever the heck is up with Danica Patrick.

But this? Fans getting injured (two were in critical condition for a while, they’re stable now) because no one figured out “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t have fans sitting right next to these racecars with nothing but a little fence in between” and decided to maybe do something about it?

That’s just so incredibly stupid that I can’t think of a proper insult to say.

So I’ll give them an idea on how to make sure this terrible event never happens again. Really really simple here: PUT SOME SPACE IN BETWEEN THE FANS AND THE TRACK.

Or, you know, at least a second fence for protection.