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Three injured after sprint car flips into small crowd at Volusia Speedway

BARBERVILLE, Fla. -- Three people were taken to the hospital when a sprint car flipped over the fence at Volusia Speedway Park, according to the Volusia County (Florida) Sheriff's Office.

Two of those injured were trauma alerts, and one was taken by helicopter to Halifax Health Medical Center, according to a sheriff's office spokesman.

The injuries occurred when Dale Blaney's World of Outlaws car went over the fence into an area near the pits where a handful of people were standing and watching the race.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of our racing family injured Sunday night, and we are encouraged by the reports of the excellent care they are receiving at Halifax," Volusia Speedway Park CEO Brian Carter said. "We have implemented additional safety measures and are very proud of our emergency medical personnel and their response to the incident."

A news release from the speedway initially said the three injured people were "participants in the pit area," and it was unclear whether they were fans or track officials or there in another capacity.

Later, the track identified one of the injured as Gary Streek, who was visiting from the United Kingdom.

Streek was released from the hospital, according to the track, while two remain hospitalized.

Streek's uncle, Alan Wardel, was admitted after experiencing some discomfort while visiting Streek at Halifax but has since been discharged, according to the track.

The track also stated that Michael Brooks, 68, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was among those hospitalized. According to the sheriff's office report, Brooks was in extremely critical condition at Halifax Health Medical center.

Kelly Kovski, 35, was in stable condition.

Kovski was at the track as the crew chief for NASCAR driver Justin Allgaier, who was competing in a dirt modified. In addition to helping get cars ready to race, Kovski has raced modifieds and stock cars for Allgaier, who won't compete in the races at Volusia for the remainder of this week.

The race was stopped for about 80 minutes, according to the World of Outlaws feed on Twitter, before being resumed at the half-mile dirt track.

World Racing Group, which owns the track and also operates the World of Outlaws and other racing series, announced that the pit area closest to the racing surface in Turn 2 will be closed for the remaining six nights of racing this week. The bleachers that were hit Wednesday night were in that restricted area and also have been removed.

No car had compromised a catch fence at the track since the WRG took ownership in 2005, according to a WRG statement. To protect the pit area, there is an earthen-reinforced steel guardrail on the racing surface, a buffer area and a cable-reinforced steel catch fence. It is different than the fence that protects the general grandstand area.

This was the second time in five nights that a sprint car cleared a fence at Volusia. On Wednesday, Joey Saldana went over the grandstands into the pit area, breaking the front row of a set of wooden bleachers. No one was injured.

Blaney, who was not injured, is the brother of former NASCAR driver Dave Blaney and uncle of current NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney.