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SBD/February 29, 2012/Events and Attractions
Officials Consider Daytona 500 A Success Despite Challenges Caused By Fire, Rain
Published February 29, 2012
NO HANDBOOK FOR THIS ONE: Chitwood said, "There is not a true training manual to light a track on fire and respond to it. There's no way to do that." He added, "That's something that you have to talk about in theory. The worst possible thing that can happen to a racetrack is fuel. We hardly ever talk about burning fuel. ... So I'm really proud of the way the team responded." In Daytona Beach, Ken Willis notes in a front-page piece the “next response will likely be at the upper-management level and involve possible changes to safety rules.” Chitwood: "We will evaluate this at a high level, once we catch our breath and deal with it. Safety is paramount, whether it's a track worker, the race driver, the fan, you name it. We'll go through an evaluation and if there's ways we can improve it, we'll definitely take steps to do that" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 2/29). Also in Daytona Beach, Dinah Voyles Pulver notes the jet fuel explosion “created an environmental concern, but a Florida Department of Environmental Protection official called Daytona International Speedway ‘a model of how to be prepared.’" FDEP Central Florida External Affairs Dir Lisa Kelley said, "They had protocols in place and they instantly implemented them" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 2/29).
THE SHOW MUST GO ON: Phoenix Int'l Raceway President Bryan Sperber said that the Daytona 500's 30-hour rain delay “won't affect this weekend's Subway Fresh Fit 500 schedule.” Sperber: "The impact will be mostly on the arrival times of some of the sponsor displays and Sprint Cup teams. We expect everyone will be here set up and ready to go on Friday” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/29).