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Monday, February 25, 2013
Rick Hendrick: 'Fence did its job'

By David Newton
ESPN.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Winning Daytona 500 team owner Rick Hendrick wants to find out what allowed the front clip of Kyle Larson's car to be sheared off in Saturday's Nationwide Series race.

He is willing to work with NASCAR to develop technology that will help prevent another incident like Saturday's, which left 28 fans injured when debris flew into the stands.

Larson's car went airborne into the catch fence on a horrific last-lap crash.

The engine, built by Hendrick Motorsports, was separated from the car and landed on the concrete in front of the Campbell grandstands between Sections H and I.

One of the tires with the hub attached sailed over the fence and hit two fans, sending both to nearby Halifax Heath with critical injuries, one life-threatening. Both, according to a hospital representative on Monday, are stable and no longer critical.

"I think the fence did its job," Hendrick said during Monday's Daytona 500 champion's breakfast for driver Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team. "I've never seen the clip come off before. ... What happened to the clip, there might be something else we can do. I've never seen that happen."

Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood sat in Sections H and I for the first 30 laps of Sunday's Great American Race. He wanted to assure fans that he was completely confident in repairs to the catch fence and that nobody was in danger.

He said no fans sitting in that section asked to be moved.

"I thought it was appropriate," Chitwood said of sitting there. "I run the track."

Chitwood said fans were having a good time. One even offered him a beer.

"I politely declined," he said. "That might be for tonight."

Chitwood said he will work with NASCAR moving forward to see if there was something in the design of the fence that might have made the accident worse than it might have been.

He noted that after Carl Edwards' car went into the catch fence at Talladega in 2009 the track replaced all of its fencing with new 22-foot high fencing.

"If changes need to be made, we will do that," Chitwood said.