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Paul Dana Killed in horrific accident
At IndyCar season opener

 March 26, 2006


Paul Dana
IRL

Likeable 30-year old rookie IRL IndyCar driver Paul Dana was killed at 10:03 AM ET this morning at Homestead Miami Raceway following a horrific accident. 

Just three minutes into the practice session Ed Carpenter crashed in Turn 2 during the morning warm-up and as his car careened off the wall and slid down to the inside apron Dana came along at 176 mph and hit the left-rear of Carpenter's car.  The front of Dana's car sustained massive damage and Dana was later pronounced dead on arrival at the Jackson Memorial Hospital just before noon ET.

Driver Ed Carpenter, who also was involved in the two-car crash, was listed in stable condition at the hospital, said Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services. Both drivers were airlifted to the trauma center.

The race will start as scheduled, officials announced. However, Rahal Letterman Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal announced that drivers Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice, teammates of Dana, will not race.

"It is a black day for us, and on behalf of Rahal Letterman Racing, our sponsors and associates, our prayers and sympathy go out to the entire Dana family," said team co-owner Bobby Rahal, the 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner. "This is a great tragedy. As a result, and in honor of Paul, we will not run the team's No. 15 (with driver Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indy 500 winner) and No. 16 (with driver Danica Patrick, the 2005 Indy 500 and IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year) cars in today's event." Dana, who helped bring the Team Ethanol sponsorship to the Indy Racing League in 2004, finished second in the 2004 Indy Pro Series standings, with a victory at Milwaukee. He debuted in the series in 2003, finishing ninth in points. Dana moved up to the IndyCar Series in 2005 with Hemelgarn Racing but competed in only three races due to a season-ending back injury suffered in May during practice for the Indianapolis 500.

"Paul was a very special guy," said David Vander Griend, president and CEO of ICM, a primary sponsor on the Team Ethanol car. "He demonstrated his belief in what ethanol can do for all of America through his racing. He helped us with so many things in bringing ethanol to the IndyCar Series. He will be missed tremendously. Our thoughts are with his family today."

"Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with the Dana family and everyone associated with the Rahal Letterman race team," Indy Racing League President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Barnhart said in making the announcement at the track.


Paul Dana during his qualifying run Saturday where he placed 9th
IRL

This accident comes after Ryan Briscoe was almost killed at Chicagoland last fall in the IRL season closer, underscoring the danger of racing Indy Cars on high-speed ovals.  Dana also sustained a broken back at Indy last year, which sidelined him the rest of the season.

Dana is the first IRL driver killed since Tony Renna died in a crash during testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2003, and the third to die in the 10-year history of the series. Scott Brayton perished in a practice crash at Indianapolis in May 1996.  However, between the deaths the league has been plagued with numerous serious driver injuries, making it one of the most dangerous forms of motorsports in the world.

Dana finished second in the 2004 Indy Pro Series standings, with a victory at Milwaukee. He debuted in the series in 2003, finishing ninth in points. Dana moved up to the IndyCar Series with Hemelgarn Racing in 2005 but competed in only three races due to a season-ending back injury suffered in May during practice for the Indianapolis 500.

Dana is survived by his wife, Tonya.

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