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Daytona 500 Crews Rush To Repair Track After Fiery Explosion

Tue February 28, 2012 - National Edition
Brenda Ruggiero


Workers finish repairing an area in the track that was damaged by a fuel leak and fire during the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., late Monday, Feb. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Friel)
Workers finish repairing an area in the track that was damaged by a fuel leak and fire during the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., late Monday, Feb. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Friel)

Damages to the Daytona International Speedway during the delayed Daytona 500 race on Monday night were quickly repaired, allowing racing to resume in just over two hours.

The damage was the result of an accident that occurred during a caution period on Lap 160 of the race.

According to Lenny Santiago, senior director of public relations for the Daytona International Speedway, driver Juan Pablo Montoya lost control of his No. 42 Target Chevrolet and struck a jet drying track maintenance vehicle at Turn 3 of the speedway. While the race car was destroyed and the jet dryer fuel tank was punctured, Montoya and Duane Barnes, driver of the jet dryer, walked away from the accident and are fine.

“Fuel from the jet dryer was ignited by the heat from the dryer, resulting in a large blaze at the top of Turn 3,” Santiago explained. “The fire was suppressed by track safety and fire crew members. Once the fire was suppressed and extinguished, the vehicles were removed from the racing surface with heavy equipment. Quick dry was applied to soak up remaining fuel and oil. The track was then cleaned with water, detergent, and water again. Then street bond was placed over the affected area to protect the asphalt and smooth any rough areas. The street bond was dried with handheld blowers, a sweeper, and then finally another jet dryer.”

Racing resumed after about two hours, and the Daytona 500 ran the full distance.

Santiago noted that clean up and repairs were handled by Daytona International Speedway maintenance and safety crew members.

“The repairs provide a near term solution while our team takes the next few days and weeks to further analyze the racing surface and determine a long-term solution, if one is necessary,” he said.