NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 on Sunday, and Danica Patrick made history by becoming the first woman to crack the top 10. However, these stories were very nearly overshadowed by tragedy.
On Saturday, during the Nationwide Series race at Daytona, a nasty wreck on the final lap sent Kyle Larson’s car up against the barrier, spraying debris—including tires—into the crowd. Luckily no one died; however, two people came very close. And if they had perished, the tragedy would have made that wreck one of the most deadly in the history of motor sports.
Now, I know that seems like an exaggeration, but it’s true. Though motor sports deaths are quite common, there are surprisingly few examples of multiple deaths at a single event. Most of the time, it’s just a single driver that gets killed, and even then the collisions don’t always look as bad as one would expect. (That certainly was the case in Dale Earnhardt’s untimely death.) However, every once in a while the true potential of auto racing to produce catastrophic carnage is realized. And when that happens, you do not want to be there.
Today, in light of the weekend’s close call, we’ll take a look at 11 of the most deadly wrecks in motor sports history. Most of them involve the death of more than one person. However, there are a few exceptions.
Have a look.