Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Indy Car Driver killed in 200 MPH collision.

  1. #1

    Indy Car Driver killed in 200 MPH collision.

    Sadly a member of the Rahal/Letterman racing team, by the last name of Dana, was killed during the final practice for the opening race of the season when he collided with another driver whose car had crashed off the wall and spun back down to the bottom of the track. His car was split in two, it was a horrific scene.

    What I am curious about is why the accident couldn't have been avoided. That may seem like a ridiculous question when you consider the speed he was travelling. However in F1 cars the carbon brakes can bring the car from 200MPH to a dead stop in what seems like less than ten seconds. From the time the car that Dana crashed into first hit the wall to the time he impacted it was a full seven seconds.

    I can't help but wonder why a spotter on an oval track with an open line of communication to the driver couldn't have told him that there was a crash directly in front of him and that the car was spinning down the track towards the bottom. They seem to have no problem doing this in Nascar to avoid accidents, so why can't Indy racing do it? Was such a safety precaution even in place? Or are the Indy Cars severely lacking in Brake power unlike their F1 cousins because they race on an oval and don't need good brakes for lots of sharp corners and hairpin turns?

    Forget the brakes though, the crash was eerie in that he slammed literally head on into the car which wasn't spinning wildly or even moving fast at the point of impact, as a matter of fact it looked like it was coming to a standstill when the collision occurred. Dana however drove full speed into it almost as if he had no idea it was there, seemingly without any attempt to swerve or slow down. Should there be an investigation into this? any Indy car experts out there who can shed light on this tragic accident?
    "I can picture every move that a man could make
    getting lost in her loving is your first mistake

    Sometimes I think its a sin
    When I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again"

  2. #2
    proud infidel
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    from the civilized world
    Posts
    1,983
    The best thing to do, IMHO, would be like they do in F1: Whenever there's a major crash anywhere on the track, there should be a yellow flag in that part of the track indicating to EVERYONE to slow down.

    fml

  3. #3
    proud infidel
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    from the civilized world
    Posts
    1,983
    Reminds me of a big crash Jacques Villeneuve had on just his second race in Indy racing. It was the exact same situation as the one you describe, HA. Fortunately, I don't think anyone was severely injured.

    fml

  4. #4
    Veteran of Misadventures
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    U.S.A.
    Posts
    13,165
    Quote Originally Posted by HonestAbe
    From the time the car that Dana crashed into first hit the wall to the time he impacted it was a full seven seconds. I can't help but wonder why a spotter on an oval track with an open line of communication to the driver couldn't have told him that there was a crash directly in front of him and that the car was spinning down the track towards the bottom.
    I had exactly the same question after watching videotape of the crash on ESPN. It looked to me like Dana was going full speed and not slowing down at the time of impact, so I have to assume he had no clue about the crash in front of him. Did someone try to communicate to Dana in those 7 seconds?
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 03-27-2006 at 12:11 PM.

  5. #5
    proud infidel
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    from the civilized world
    Posts
    1,983
    Could the radio communication equipment have been faulty?

  6. #6
    Veteran of Misadventures
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    U.S.A.
    Posts
    13,165
    It seems as though other drivers are saying that Dana's death is due to his inexperience. According to Buddy Lazier, other drivers were slowing down in response to yellow caution lights and Dana was carrying way too much speed and not paying attention.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/news/s...d=1&id=2386360

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    140
    #1, in F1 there are safety flags, the BIG difference is that there is slim to none chance that the car will bounce back onto the track. Thats one of the inherent dangers of racing on an oval.

    #2, in F1, if there is a yellow flag in a certain corner, the drivers are supposed to slow down a bit and avoid passing.... in reality, they only avoid passing.

    #3, If you look closely at the video, you will see that the cars around him where all going at the same speed... you cant slow down too fast when being sorrounded by other cars, since you will most probably get hit from the back and wreck.

    #4, A second before impact, he hit debris from the wreck which destroyed the right front wing and possibly bent the upper A-arm, which means he had little to no control of where he was going from that point. Considering the amount of distance he was covering a second, this made a huge impact on how he hit the other car, if he had full control of his car for that last second, he could have changed direction enough as to not hit the other car so squarely. I suspect he was killed because the gearbox\engine or some significant piece rode up the nose and hit him on the head, not to mention the leg trauma he must have suffered simultaneously.

    #5, His spotter told him moments before impact to go low, he did.

  8. #8
    proud infidel
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    from the civilized world
    Posts
    1,983
    [QUOTE=picaron I suspect he was killed because the gearbox\engine or some significant piece rode up the nose and hit him on the head, not to mention the leg trauma he must have suffered simultaneously.

    [/QUOTE]

    Maybe also the brain trauma due to the quick deceleration when his car impacted the other car(?)

  9. #9
    proud infidel
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    from the civilized world
    Posts
    1,983
    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    It seems as though other drivers are saying that Dana's death is due to his inexperience. According to Buddy Lazier, other drivers were slowing down in response to yellow caution lights and Dana was carrying way too much speed and not paying attention.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/news/s...d=1&id=2386360
    Although the driver who was killed was 30-years-old, he was a rookie in the IRL, driving in only his first race.

  10. #10

    Respect for the dead?

    Sportscenter reported last night that analysis of info on the cars "computer" showed that he was indeed trying to slow down but was still going 176 MPH at the moment of impact. It was speculated that he could not go high again after originally going low because there was another car right behind him slightly higher up on the track and to do so could have resulted in a separate crash. How he could have been so slow in his original reaction to the accident is still in question.

    The new issue that seems to have popped up is whether or not it was proper to run the race just hours later with only a moment of silence to mark Danas' death. A comparison was made to the tragic death of Hank Gathers, the great college basketball player, who collapsed just minutes into a game and died of heart failure. That game was not only stopped, it was never even rescheduled.

    Of course basketball and racing are apples and oranges but a human death is very much the same no matter what sport you play and how different sports deal with it is quite interesting. I thought that the Rahal/Letterman racing teams response was entirely appropriate, the rest of the teams and the racing leagues managerial decison to go ahead as if someone dying only a few hours ago was like the equivalent of a hamstring injury to a running back in the NFL is questionable to say the least. Did the race really HAVE to be run that day? Couldn't it have been postponed, at least for a day, out of respect for Danas' family?

    Imagine if just hours after the Space Shuttle Columbia crashed NASA had rolled out the Space Shuttle Challenger and said "We just have to get one of these things in outer space right now!"
    "I can picture every move that a man could make
    getting lost in her loving is your first mistake

    Sometimes I think its a sin
    When I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again"

  11. #11
    proud infidel
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    from the civilized world
    Posts
    1,983
    Honest Abe,

    with all due respect, I think you're being a bit too sentimental. Crashes, severe injuries and death are all inherent parts of competitive race car driving. The teams know it, the drivers know it, and the families of the drivers should know it. Was the F1 race in Montreal 20 years or so ago cancelled when Pironi's car slammed into Palladi's car at the start of the race, causing Palladi's car to become engulfed in flames with him ultimately losing his life as a result? No. Was the race in which the greatest driver of all time Ayrton Sena cancelled when his car went smashing into a wall at Monza causing his death? No. It's a bit the same idea in wrestling. It's a very risky sport, and tragic accidents do happen, but the show must go on. The Rahal team's decision not to have it's drivers race that weekend was appropriate, but as for the rest of the field, would it have changed anything had the race been cancelled outright? No. I say: Let the show go on, and may the chips fall where they may

    fml
    Last edited by femaleluver2; 03-29-2006 at 08:18 AM.

  12. #12
    One thing you will notice about F1 is that no driver has ever been pronounced dead at the track. I was at the track when Palleti was killed. No one expected the race to be cancelled. Even when Gilles Villeneuve died in practice at Zolder, anyone who has seen the accident could tell that he was killed on impact with the fence, his death was not confirmed until much later and it was stated that he died in hospital. It's tradition in F1, no one dies at the track.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •