When a heavy storm popped up during the Pennsylvania 400 on Sunday night, the race was cut short with Jeff Gordon declared the winner. But when spectators fled to the parking lot, lightning struck and 10 people were injured, two of whom were taken to the hospital in critical condition. One of the victims later died from their injuries.
Because everything happened so quickly, it hasn’t been determined yet if the storm caused multiple lightning strikes, and no details have been released as to whether all the victims were struck or if their injuries were caused by something else storm-related.
Since late last year, there have been several reports of sudden, violent storms, many of which have gained national attention; in April, several tornadoes ripped through Texas as surveillance cameras caught them tossing around 18-wheelers with no effort. In June, a freak hailstorm cropped up in Dallas and caused hundreds of millions in damage. However, for the most part, few injuries have been reported. This most recent storm is one of the most severe where that is concerned, and officials at the raceway are concerned.
“We were walking down pit road and there was a huge crack of lightning and you could tell it was very close,’ said Jeff Gordon. “It takes away from the victory to know that something like that happened. Our race fans are so loyal here. You hate to hear something like that. Our thoughts are with them.”
Image credit: Kevin Mingora, The Morning Call