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Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017

Could IndyCar tragedy have been prevented?

Posted Monday, October 17, 2011, at 12:18 PM

The graphic images of the crash which took IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon on Sunday at Las Vegas show one aspect, in particular, that is less seen in NASCAR.

The number of cars flying through the air is unbelievable. We've seen cars go airborne in NASCAR but not to such an extent. Check out the Las Vegas Sun's website (I'm not directly linking because one Las Vegas paper has had some issues about outside links) for a close-up series of photos showing the crash better than any TV images I've seen.

Some of the drivers were quoted as saying that track was too short and had too many cars (34) entered and they expected a crash.

Race drivers realize the dangers they face and I'm not one to suggest any bans or clampdowns on racing. But something's wrong if IndyCars are that prone to go airborne.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

The tragedy absolutely could have and should have been avoided. Too much speed, track too short for 34 Indy cars which really aren't built for such banked tracks.

That $5 million to be awarded to some driver other than a full-time Indy car driver coming from the rear of the pack to win invited trouble with so many inexperienced drivers in the field.

The list could go on and on. Was it promotor-generated tragedy?

-- Posted by bomelson on Mon, Oct 17, 2011, at 3:09 PM

I agree with Bo that the $5 million incentive (that Weldon qualified for)was just asking for disaster. Weldon being back in the pack was trying to get to the front as soon as possible to win for his partner. He was a good driver and I do not think he ordinarily would have been pushing that hard that early in the race otherwise. The start of the wreck was not his fault but his speed got him into it in a hurry.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Oct 17, 2011, at 5:03 PM

An article in the Tennesseean pointed out that speeds of up to 225 mph were recorded during qualifying. That's way to fast for that particular track and way too many cars in the field. That wreck was absolutely horrific.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Tue, Oct 18, 2011, at 8:16 AM

It is a tragedy anytime someone is killed, but the sport is called racing not driving. He and all the other drivers were aware that death is a possibility any time they are on the track. On the other hand hundreds are killed daily in auto accidents in which no racing is involved. So do we slow down or limit the number of cars on the road.

-- Posted by Jigs on Wed, Oct 19, 2011, at 1:15 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.