Conway glad to be alive
Mike Conway will miss at least three months of the Izod IndyCar Series season because of a compression fracture in his back suffered in the horrifying crash at the end of the Indianapolis 500.
Conway suffered the injury, along with a lower leg injury, after his car climbed over the left rear tire of Ryan Hunter-Reay’s car and flew into the turn-three catch fence.
Conway’s team owner, Dennis Reinbold of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, said the lower leg injury mostly involved the driver’s left ankle. He said doctors likened it to an injury suffered from “jumping out of a building.”
Conway was released from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on June 4.
“I’m feeling fine at the moment, all things considered,” he said. “I’m just thankful I came out of it alive.”
Hunter-Reay said pieces of Conway’s car gouged his helmet and ripped off the roll hoop and TV camera behind his head.
“By some miracle of God, I escaped,” Hunter-Reay said. “That was really lucky.”
There are some who say Conway’s crash should never have happened, and they want IndyCar officials to mandate a minimum amount of fuel a car can carry to prevent drivers from reducing their on-track speed in an effort to improve fuel economy.
At full speed, Conway ran over the left-side tires of Hunter-Reay’s car as it ran out of ethanol on lap 199 of 200.
Indy winner Dario Franchitti, who was among those nursing his car around the track in the late stages of the 500, said he thinks that’s a tricky rule to enforce.
“So let’s say the rule is one gallon [must be left in the car after the race] and they measure 0.99,” he said. “Are you thrown out?”
Chief steward Brian Barnhart said he considered black-flagging those drivers running well off their pace at the end of the race but he decided there was a precedent against it.
“You traditionally use the leader’s pace as a yardstick for being out there,” he said. “In this case, the leader’s pace was the slow pace, so it was an unusual circumstance.”
Barnhart said a better option to a fuel minimum could be a warning light on the back of cars that alerts others if a competitor is low on fuel or suffers a power failure. But he also said that he doesn’t know whether such a system is feasible or if it would be effective. AutoWeek
Ed Note: Why not just have a rule that if you run out of fuel on-track, you forfeit all points for the season (or something really drastic) such that no team would want to take that risk? If another driver's life doesn't matter to them, then hit them where it does hurt. This could easily be monitored as well with some simple telemetry on fuel load and engine RPM or ignition.