Wednesday, February 27, 2013
NASCAR notebook: Lawsuit is considered after wreck injures fans
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ORLANDO, Fla. - The attorney for three NASCAR fans injured last weekend during a race the day before the Daytona 500 says they are exploring a possible lawsuit, but some experts say they could face tough obstacles in winning damages.
Matt Morgan, the Orlando-based lawyer for the fans, said at a news conference Tuesday than any suit would focus on the safety fence used along the track at Daytona International Speedway. He said he hopes to reach a settlement with NASCAR to avoid a lawsuit.
More than 30 people were injured last Saturday after a horrific wreck in a second-tier NASCAR series race sent chunks of debris, including a heavy tire, into the stands. Morgan declined to provide the identities of his clients, but said two of them were seated directly in front of the crash and sustained injuries including a fractured fibula and abdominal swelling. All have been released from the hospital.
Some experts say there could be grounds for a lawsuit, and that courts have looked past liability waivers written on the backs of sporting event tickets. Others maintain the ticket is a legal contract that could be hard to overcome in court.
"Ultimately, I believe it would be gross negligence," Morgan said. "We all know that when you go to a race you assume a certain amount of risk. But what people don't assume is that a race car will come flying into the stands... That's why they make the fences."
Asked to comment on the fans' retention of a law firm, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon wrote in a statement, "We are unaware of any lawsuits filed."
Allmendinger to be back in a Cup car at Phoenix
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A.J. Allmendinger will make his NASCAR season debut this Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.
Allmendinger, who didn't have a ride for the season-opening Daytona 500, will drive for Phoenix Racing in the No. 51 Guy Roofing Chevrolet. It will be Allmendinger's fifth race with Phoenix Racing, which gave him a chance last year after NASCAR reinstated him following his drug suspension.
"It's been a few months since I've been in a stock car," said Allmendinger. "I haven't been in one of the Gen-6 cars yet, so I think it will take a little time to get acclimated to it. Phoenix International Raceway is a great place for me to get back behind the wheel."
Allmendinger has eight previous Cup starts at Phoenix, where he has two top-10 finishes. He's also won one pole and started on the front row three times.
"It definitely helps to go to a track that I enjoy already," he said. "Of all the tracks we go to, this is one of the most technical and challenging. It takes finesse and you have to hit your marks nearly perfect every time."
Danica boosts Daytona’s TV ratings
NEW YORK — With Danica Patrick starting from the pole, the Daytona 500’s television ratings are much higher than last year’s.
Sunday afternoon’s race earned a 9.9 rating and 22 share on Fox. That’s up 24 percent from 2012, when rain pushed the event to a Monday night. The network said Tuesday it was the highest rating since 2008.
Jimmie Johnson won the race while Patrick was eighth, the best finish by a woman at the Daytona 500.
Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned to a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time.