The awful mess started when Regan Smith's car was turned sideways as he was coming into the checkered flag. This caused many other cars to crash, sending Kyle Larson's No. 32 car into the fence that separates the track from the grandstands. The car itself was damaged quite badly, the entire front end torn off and the burning engine wedged in a hole in the fence.
Driver Tony Stewart slid past the wreckage to take the win at the Nationwide Series race, but skipped the usual post-victory celebration. "As much as we want to celebrate right now and as much as this is a big deal to us, I'm more worried about the drivers and the fans that are in the stands right now because that was ... I could see it all in my mirror, and it didn't look good from where I was at," Stewart told a reporter.
A spokesperson from Volusia County told the Associated Press that six people with serious injuries were taken by ambulance to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, saying that those victims "met the condition of trauma patients." No official word has been given on the condition of other victims, nor has a final injury count been released.
This tragic event will no doubt put a dark cloud over Sunday's Daytona 500 race. Scroll down to see a video of the horrific crash.
UPDATE: A day after the accident, the injury toll has been raised to 33, with two of the victims said to be in critical condition. Check out this Associated Press video report on USA Today and this WOFL Fox 35 report.