Safety on everyone’s mind before Daytona 500

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“Maybe we need a double fence, one behind the other, with maybe a space in between to do something to stop this,” Rutherford said. “There’s a lot of things. I’m sure NASCAR and the IndyCar series are looking at everything to make it safer. What happened yesterday was a terrible thing.

“The drivers, we accept that. That’s part of the game. We have to roll the dice and move on. But you don’t want to involve the fans.”

Chitwood said any fans who felt uncomfortable with their up-close seating for the Daytona 500 could exchange their tickets for spots elsewhere.

“If fans are unhappy with their seating location or if they have any incidents, we would relocate them,” Chitwood said. “So we’ll treat that area like we do every other area of the grandstand. If a fan is not comfortable where they’re sitting, we make every accommodation we can.”

Few fans seemed willing to relocate.

“Real NASCAR fans ain’t scared,” said Zeb Daniels, who was attending his fifth Daytona 500 with his daughter. “If we see anything coming to the fence, we’ll hit the floor and pray.”

So why take a chance?

“We come for the thrill, the excitement,” Daniels said. “We can feel the heat, the tire rubber in our eyes.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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