A fan was killed, while nine others sustained injuries from lightning strikes that hit Pocono Raceway following the NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday. Bob Allen the coroner of Monroe County identified the man who was killed as 41-year old Brian Zimmerman from Pennsylvania. Officials at the track said Zimmerman had been pronounced dead upon arrival at Stroudsburg’s Pocono Mountain Hospital.
Another fan was at Allentown’s Lehigh Hospital in critical condition. The other eight who were injured were being treated for minor injuries at other hospitals in the area. A spokesman for the track said the ten fans, including the one fatality had been injured from one strike that hit in the parking lot behind the tracks main grandstand just before 5pm Sunday afternoon.
One fan said the strike that killed Zimmerman was near Gate 11 close to a tent. The fan said police and paramedics arrived on the scene immediately following the fatal strike. The fan from Virginia said she saw one man taken away on a stretcher and looked to be in severe pain.
The lightning strikes took place just after the 160-lap races was cancelled after 98 laps due to the storm. Jeff Gordon was awarded the win as he was leading when the race was called. He said he was on his way to reach victory lane when the lightning hit behind the grandstand.
Officials at Pocono Raceway issued severe storm warnings on Facebook and Twitter at 4:20 pm. Just before 5pm, it listed another warning on the same social sites and asked fans to seek shelter because of lightning and heavy winds that were in the immediate vicinity of the track.