A horrific lightning strike tragically claimed the life of a dedicated NASCAR fan on Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400, which also sent 9 spectators to local hospitals.
Lightning struck directly after one of the long weather-related hiatuses, striking several fans watching in the stands. One fan that was in very critical condition was rushed to a hospital, but just after the race ended, was pronounced dead at the Pocono Medical Center in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Among the other injured fans, several with critical injuries were rushed to the nearest hospital, Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Other fans were transported to Geisigner Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, while the last spectator was taken to Pocono Medical Center with a moderate injury. Several other spectators would eventually be taken to the hospital after the race for precautionary reasons as well.
The race only went 68 of the scheduled 160 laps, as a result of the relentless lightning storms and giant waves of water on the built up on the track. Jeff Gordon won the checkered flag when the race was finally called, ending a 31-race winless streak for the veteran. However, it is a win that will come with a heavy heart for Gordon.
Sunday’s race at the Poconos was gloomy and cloudy all day, except for a couple few glimpses of sunlight that broke through the clouds. Our prayers and thoughts go out to the families who lost their loved one and to all of those who suffered injuries. During times like these, sports become secondary, and family and unity become the most important things.