IRL driver's widow speaks on Saturday
One year after IndyCar Series driver Paul Dana’s death in a pre-race practice run at the season opener in Homestead, Fla., SportsCenter will present an exclusive television interview with his widow, Tonya Bergeson-Dana on Saturday’s 10 a.m. ET show. Speaking on television for the first time since her husband's fatal accident, she tells reporter Mark Schwarz that the results of an IRL inquiry into the tragedy -- that were never made public -- were shared with Dana's family and contradict many news reports about Dana's final actions. He had been an advocate of the renewable fuel ethanol, which the IRL made mandatory this year.
Additionally, Bergeson-Dana will speak about their son Paul Conor Bergeson-Dana, who was born in December, 8-1/2 months after Dana's death at age 32.
Excerpts from the Tonya Bergeson-Dana interview:
On IRL's findings in its investigation of Paul Dana's fatal accident:
“The IRL has been able to tell us, through examining some data, that Paul was going at speeds that were on par with the speeds that the other drivers were going through at that point. They were also able to tell us that he hit a piece of debris just before hitting Ed Carpenter’s car… If you hit a piece of debris, there’s nothing you can do, whether you’re a rookie or whether you’re the most experienced driver in the world.”
On deciding to do a television interview:
“Now that it’s been a year, it’s still obviously emotionally raw, but I want people to remember what a great guy he was, what a visionary he was, and that he was way ahead of the curve. Being able to tell everybody that ‘This is something that happened, it’s a racing accident, it’s nobody’s fault,’ is something that’s really important to us, for people to understand.”
On her son Paul Conor Bergeson-Dana:
“I see Paul in him every day. He has these looks and I say, ‘Oh my gosh. There’s Paul! There’s his daddy!’ And I try to keep thinking positively. I think, ‘Wow, this guy has so much love around him.’… And there are times when I also think that he’s going to miss his daddy, and that’s really sad.”