Amidst the wrecks and dangerous collisions that frequent a NASCAR event, yesterday at Pocono Raceway we can add lightning as a legitimate threat. After a rain shortened race at the Pennsylvania racetrack, lightning struck in the parking lot and killed one person and injured nine according to officials from the race track.
There were multiple reports that there was one lightning strike that hit multiple people while others said it may have been multiple strikes. The injured were evacuated to local hospitals, two in critical condition.
Racetrack President, Brandon Igdalsky, announced a short time later that one of those who was taken to the hospital had died.
“Unfortunately, a member of our raceway family here, a fan, has passed away,”
The race at Pocono Racetrack had been called off after 98 laps had been completed of 160 planned. The Racetrack began to release messages via Twitter and through announcements that it was time for the more than 85,000 in attendance to seek shelter “as severe lightning and heavy winds are in our area.”
Jeff Gordon, the driver who officially is listed as the race winner, told reporters that he heard multiple loud cracks from the Pit.
“You could tell it was very close. I mean, that’s the thing that’s going to take away from the victory, is the fact that somebody was affected by that.”
NASCAR Spokesman David Higdon said in a statement,
“We are deeply saddened that a fan has died and others were injured by lightning strikes following today’s race at Pocono. Our thoughts are with them as well as those affected by this unfortunate accident.”
Five fans were taken to local hospitals in moderate to minor condition. One fan remained in critical condition.