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Fan killed; nine injured by lightning after Pocono race

Jay Busbee, 8/5/2012
UPDATE: Shortly after 7:30 ET, Pocono Raceway officials announced that a fan was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital. Details have not been released.

Tough news out of Pocono, as the same storm that shut down the race after 98 of a scheduled 160 laps also sent down a lightning strike that injured ten fans just outside the track.

Pocono officials indicated that several of the fans were treated and released from the infield care center, but that five were transported directly to local hospitals. Their names and conditions were not released. In all, two fans are listed as critical, one as moderate, two as minor, and five treated and released.

“Me and my friend just ran into our truck during all the nasty weather,” Kyle Manger, a race fan from New Jersey, told The Sporting News. “The visibility was very poor and all of a sudden (I) saw a bolt of lightning right in front of our windshield. When it became a little more visible, we saw two bodies next to a destroyed tent with people scrambling.”

Jeff Gordon, the race’s winner, recalled seeing lightning strikes right after the race ended, including the one that may have injured the fans. “I’m pretty sure I know which one it was,” he said. “We were walking down pit road, the umbrellas weren’t doing any good, there was a huge, huge crack from lightning. You could tell it was very close. That’s the thing that’s going to take away from the victory, is the fact that somebody was affected by that.”

NASCAR fans have been struck by lightning at tracks in the past. Three fans suffered minor injuries during a thunderstorm in Daytona in 2004. And in 1983, two spectators were killed and six injured during a storm at Dover.–nascar.html

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