LANSING, Mich. — An investigation is underway into an incident in which a stock car driver who drove into the catch fence of a NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Michigan International Speedway sustained broken ribs and cuts in an attack from a spectator.
Danica Patrick, who is sponsored by Monster Energy, finished 12th in Sunday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race in a K&N Pro Series Chevy after a surge in the final laps. During one of the safety inspections before the race, that sponsor’s car swerved into the infield grass and hit the fence. Patrick told team officials and NASCAR officials that someone in the crowd jumped on the hood and started hitting her with something that appeared to be metal pipe, MSP Trooper Michael Chitwood told the Detroit Free Press.
A 27-year-old man was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon, Chitwood said.
“It appears the situation could be alcohol-related,” Chitwood said, referring to one witness who claimed she saw a man pass out in the spectator area. “What I would say is that given what has occurred, I think the precautions we put in place worked. It was a great example of how the Michigan State Police did what they were trained to do, and we got right to the scene in the shortest amount of time.”
Besides Patrick, a 33-year-old driver from Massachusetts, Drayden VanWyngarden, a 19-year-old driver from Tennessee and Nick Smith, a 17-year-old driver from Missouri were hospitalized after the altercation. VanWyngarden remained in stable condition Monday at Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers. Both Smith and Patrick were released from a hospital.
Tigers officials confirmed Patrick was treated at Comerica Park.
No one was charged in the attack.