BY CHRISTINE VALDEZ
What should have been an afternoon of racing turned into tragedy after a rain-shortened NASCAR race saw one fan killed and nine others injured by lighting on Sunday.
The race at Pocono Raceway was cut short for severe thunderstorms in the area. As soon as the storms began multiple lightning strikes occurred behind the track’s grandstands, as well as one of the gates where fans were leaving, said Pocono Raceway spokesperson Bob Pleban to the Associated Press.
Of the 10 fans who were struck by lightning, one lost his life. He has been identified as a 41-year-old Pennsylvania man. According to the AP, Monroe Country Coroner Bob Allen said that the victim was near his car in the parking lot when lightning struck his car. Bystanders performed CPR on the victim. When paramedics arrived the man had gone into cardiac arrest. The race fan was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
Pocono Raceway President Brandon Igdalsky made an announcement about the tragic event at the track.
“Unfortunately a member of our raceway family here, a fan, has passed away,” said Igdalsky to the Sporting News. “On behalf of myself, the entire family and everyone here, a really heartfelt (condolences) that this happened.”
Kyle Manger, a race fan from New Jersey was at the track and mentioned that the visibility was poor while he ran with his friends back to their truck.
“The visibility was very poor and all of a sudden [I] saw a bolt of lightning right in front of our windshield,” said Manger to The Sporting News. “When it became a little more visible, we saw two bodies next to a destroyed tent with people scrambling.”
According to Yahoo Sports, the incident at Pocono was not the first time lighting strikes have struck at NASCAR tracks. In 2004 a race at Daytona, three fans suffered minor injuries during a thunderstorm. In 1983 two fans were killed and six others injured in a storm at Dover.
Pocono Raceway was hosting their second of two races this year. Nascar estimates 85,000 fans were in attendance.