Daytona Nationwide crash: Tony Stewart meets injured fans

Jerry Markland

Tony Stewart visited hospitalized fans injured in a crash Saturday just two hours after a disappointing loss in Sunday's Daytona 500. Stewart had won the Nationwide Series race in which 28 fans suffered injuries due to flying debris.

Tony Stewart was the winner in a Nationwide Series race whose result was marred by a crash that injured 28 spectators on Saturday. But Stewart didn't forget about those hurt, heading to a Daytona hospital to visit the six fans that were still being treated with their injuries after his car was knocked out of Sunday's Daytona 500, as USA Today's Jeff Gluck writes.

As of Monday, two of the fans were still hospitalized after the crash, which saw part of Kyle Larson's car launched into the stands. Stewart, who went on to win the Drive4COPD 300 for a seventh time to tie Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s record in the Nationwide Series event, has often earned a bad rep from media due to his attitude, but he's always been known to be willing to lend a helping hand off the track. Gluck reports Stewart didn't want his trip to the hospital publicized, but word of his visit leaked out on Twitter. Here's what Stewart about the crash to say after winning on Saturday:

"We've always known since racing was started this was a dangerous sport, but we assume that risk, and it's hard when the fans get caught up in it," Stewart said in a subdued celebration that day. "So as much as we want to celebrate now and as much as this is a big deal to all of us, I'm more worried about the drivers (injured) and the fans in the stands right now, because I could see it all in the mirror, and it didn't look good from where I was at, either."

A crash in Sunday's main event forced Stewart to finish in 41st and prevented him from winning the Daytona 500 for the first time. Although he said he was "mule-kicked" by the disappointing finish, he went to the hospital for over two hours, signing autographs for some of the hurt fans.

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