Sunday, August 5, 2012

One killed, nine hurt from lightning strike at Poconos NASCAR race

Officials at Pocono Raceway say that one person was killed and nine others injured after a lightning strike in a parking lot behind the grandstand Sunday afternoon.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Pennsylvania 400 was shortened to 98 laps of the scheduled 160-lap race after a storm rolled over the Long Pond, Penn. racetrack.  The severe weather sent spectators scrambling for shelter during the race.

Track officials said five people were treated at the scene and two were taken to local hospitals in critical condition where one of them later died.

The officials didn't release many details and it is not clear if all 10 were actually struck by lightning or if there were multiple strikes.  Witnesses said they saw at least one strike in the parking  lot.

As the storm approached, the track posted messages on Twitter warning the 85,000 fans to "seek shelter" from the impending high winds and lightning.  Tents and stands were reportedly tossed around in the storm.

Jeff Gordon, the race's winner, said he recalled seeing lightning right after the race ended.

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