Paul Dana Killed in
At IndyCar season opener
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
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.
during his qualifying run Saturday where he placed 9th
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.
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