An obviously upset track president, Brandon Igdalsky, made the sad announcement, "a member of our raceway family, a fan, has passed away and behalf of myself, the entire family and everyone here, a really heartfelt."
With that announcement, the NASCAR world mourned the loss of a fan and the debate began on fan safety at outdoor venues, like Pocono Raceway. Richmond International Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier has seen his share of stormy weather, growing up in the Ohio Valley, graduating from Bellaire St. John.
Bickmeier tells 7News that tracks try to plan for everything, "we definitely have plans and procedures in place to deal with a number of emergency type situations or pending situations"
A problem many fans at Pocono had with the announcements on the public address system, was the noise. With forty three, 850 horsepower cars on the track, the noise level was drowning out the announcements.
But like Richmond, Pocono has joined the social media age, "texting has become a very popular way to get in touch with our fans, the mobile app, the mobile application we have, we can also push messages to the mobile app," added Bickmeier.
Stormtracker 7 Chief Meteorologist, Dr. Dave Walker says the track has to weigh its responsibility against public panic,"well you don't want to panic the people, that's the first thing and the second thing, is there a place they can go if a big storm hits"
Even with the precautions taken, 41-year-old Brian Zimmerman, of Moosic, Pennsylvania, was killed by a lightning strike shortly after the Pennsylvania 400 was called due to the severe weather in the area. Track president Brandon Igdalsky called Zimmerman a long time member of the Pocono family.
Nine others were injured in two separate lightning strikes at the track.