March 26, 2006

Paul Dana dies from injuries during warm-up crash. : Horrible accident. Estimated impact was at 176 mph.

posted by dbt302 to auto racing at 12:40 PM - 34 comments

For some reason, your link isn't loading for me. Here's a link that is working. A quote from my link: The Toyota Indy 300 race was expected to be run as scheduled. Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing for which Dana was to race this season, said the team's other two cars -- driven by Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice -- will be pulled out of the race.

posted by NoMich at 12:49 PM on March 26, 2006

The link if very slow. Took forever to come up. Thanks for the extra link.

posted by dbt302 at 12:54 PM on March 26, 2006

Brutal crash. All the safety precautions in the world won't save someone in a mishap like that, and at that speed.

posted by dyams at 12:56 PM on March 26, 2006

Can't believe they aren't postponing the race. That is pretty heartless.

posted by kenmrcm at 01:04 PM on March 26, 2006

He wasn't long on experience, which didn't help, but stuff like this just happens sometimes. The crash was brutal, and watching it, you knew right away this was worse than normal. (and kenmrcm, crashes like this, while rare, happen enough, and the racing schedule is tight enough, that they can still run the race and also serve Dana's memory, and that's the best course of action for everyone concerned.) I remember reading Paul Dana's pieces. He was a pretty insightful guy who just had a passion for the sport. It's not much right now, but at least he died doing what he loved. Word to his family.

posted by chicobangs at 01:10 PM on March 26, 2006

Honestly, the best thing they can do is run the race. I don't remember a race being postponed after someone has passed away from an accident. Rockingham ran the week after Dale Sr died. It is always said, "That is what they would have wanted". I'm sure Paul would have wanted the race to go on.

posted by dbt302 at 01:12 PM on March 26, 2006

I haven't seen the crash, but the description of it sent chills down my spine. Wow.

posted by wingnut4life at 01:14 PM on March 26, 2006

This poor man should have stuck to journalism were life expectancy is 106 years. ~RIP~

posted by St.Louis Sandi at 02:33 PM on March 26, 2006

"I haven't seen the crash, but the description of it sent chills down my spine" I have seen it, and it's pretty nasty. I just can't figure out why he (Dana) didn't slow for the caution.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 04:12 PM on March 26, 2006

The race at Rockingham of 2001 wasnt postponed cause it was a week after Dale died but if someone Dale Sr big died today the race would have been postponed these people dont care about the smaller racers IRL needs major safety improvements I have never been a fan of open-cockpit cars traveling at 200^ MPH Paul Dana RIP 4/15/75 - 3/26/06

posted by houston9388 at 09:02 PM on March 26, 2006

Is there a link to the actual crash video or still footage? I haven't seen anything at all. From all accounts it appears that he made a very bad rookie mistake. Like flying aerobatics, it just takes one slip up to ruin your day. Sanman

posted by Sanman at 10:32 PM on March 26, 2006

It was on the CBS (or ABC?) nightly news and it was one nasty wreck. One of the worst I've ever seen. The car he hit was spinning down the embankment of the track after bouncing off the wall when Dana seemed to come out of nowhere and broadsided it traveling flat out. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

posted by commander cody at 10:41 PM on March 26, 2006


posted by kckurtbusch at 10:51 PM on March 26, 2006

"Is there a link to the actual crash video or still footage?" The video I was sent had labels on it. If you go there, be aware that there's a lot of really horrid stuff on the site.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:04 PM on March 26, 2006

Wow, I just saw the crash. My heart goes out to his family. Incredibly the driver of the car he hit suffered only cuts and bruises.

posted by doggstarr at 11:29 PM on March 26, 2006

"PAUL SPUN OUT THEN AT LEAST 10SEC LATER WHICH WAS PLENTY OF TIME TO HEAR IT ON THE RADIO OR EVEN SEE IT. I SAW THE WRECK AND I DON'T SEE HOW THE OTHER DRIVER DID NOT SEE PAUL.DID ANYONE TELL HIM TO SLOW DOWN OR WHAT?" I think you have it backward, kckurtbusch, the car that spun out was not Dana, it was Ed Carpenter. Dana hit Carpenter's car a few seconds after it slid down the embankment. Bobby Rahal told reporters Dana's spotter saw the first incident and reported it to Dana, "yellow, yellow", not sure if he heard the communication or not, but by the looks of it, he didn't cause Dana's car never slowed. Too bad, sounds like he was a great guy, he was living his dream.

posted by eccsport78 at 07:33 AM on March 27, 2006

One more thing, I had a real problem with Chip Ganassi being so stinkin' happy in victory lane with his driver. Ok, it was an exciting finish, but you could tell that even Wheldon was a little subdued after climbing out of the car, with what had happened earlier. But here was Ganassi acting like it was his first win as an owner, laughing and joking around. Show some class for god sakes, somebody died three hours earlier.

posted by eccsport78 at 07:47 AM on March 27, 2006

There'll be a lot of questions in the aftermath, mainly centering around why Dana didn't slow down or go to the bottom of the track. Carpenter's spin and contact with the wall happened at least five seconds in advance of the collision, and the yellow caution lights came on properly. His spotter should have been telling him of the danger ahead of him. Do IRL cars have a black box and/or a recording of communications?

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:37 PM on March 27, 2006

frazer, I did some checking and this is what I came up with: Electronics: Delphi engine computer spec'ed by IRL; most cars have distributorless ignition. IRL-mandated rev limiter set at 10,500 RPM (10,300 starting in 1999). Telemetry and electronic dash permitted; telecommand not permitted. Standard two-way driver/crew/spotter voice radio. IRL-mandated scoring transponder, accident data recorder, and onboard caution-flag signaling system. Safety: Front crush zone and bulkhead to protect driver's feet. Form-fitted seat; foam head restraint and (beginning in 1999) gel bag to cushion head in back-in accident. Energy-absorbing collapsible suspension. Collapsible gearbox and bellhousing, plus rubber attentuator on rear of gearbox. Roll bar embedded in engine air box. Double-layer fuel cell with foam lining. "Diaper" under the engine to catch fluids and debris in case of blown engine or leak. Courtesy: The Definitive Unofficial IRL FAQ I thought that the cockpit had a flashing yellow light that came on when there was a caution, but I wasn't sure. That's why I did this checking just to back up my claim. So now I am more concerned as to why he didn't slow down. With all of those safety features, what the hell was going on in that cockpit? Does anybody know if his spotter had communication with him leading up to the crash?

posted by wingnut4life at 03:13 PM on March 27, 2006

From a statement by Bobby Rahal: Rahal, co-owner of the Rahal Letterman team, said he knew of no problem with communications. "The spotter made clear the incident," Rahal said. "From what I could see, there was a car on the outside. Paul was just passing or had just passed, but I think it would be conjecture and probably very irresponsible for me to try to dissect as to why what happened, happened. But there was no problem with communication."

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:43 PM on March 27, 2006

You almost have to attribute it to inexperience. The guy missed something, and at 200 mph. you can't be missing stuff. Tragic.

posted by dyams at 03:55 PM on March 27, 2006

does anyone have the video

posted by Barry-from-H-town at 04:57 PM on March 27, 2006

Yeah, I agree, I think it was just inexperience. You can kind of figure out from Rahal's comments they probably feel the same way, but who knows for sure. Maybe the data recorder will show if everything was working properly in the cockpit, especially that onboard caution indicator. Didn't know they had that.

posted by eccsport78 at 05:07 PM on March 27, 2006

does anyone have the video From utube: Again my appologies for not being able to "link" properly

posted by Folkways at 05:23 PM on March 27, 2006

does anyone have the video From youtube: Again my appologies for not being able to "link" properly

posted by Folkways at 05:23 PM on March 27, 2006

ESPN's been showing the video all day. Throttle telemetry showed he was off the gas and braking but his speed was 176 at impact.

posted by eccsport78 at 05:30 PM on March 27, 2006

Here is the link that folkways has. Aside from that, after watching that video I can't think of anything else to say, that crash was very vicious.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:45 PM on March 27, 2006

Woah, the written word did not prepare me for what I just saw. I too am speechless.

posted by njsk8r20 at 05:56 PM on March 27, 2006

Finally saw the video. Imagine the energy absorbed by his body...yikes. What was Ganassi doing!?! He was grinning from ear to ear and going on about the race. Wheldon himself appeared put off by his boss' behavior.

posted by Sanman at 06:05 PM on March 27, 2006

I never like seeing that kind of crash. Sometimes I still get shudders thinking about the Krosnoff crash in Toronto, which is the last fatal crash I saw live (on TV, not in person). As they say, at least he died doing what he loved. This being said, after having seen the video, I'm not so sure Dana was going much faster than the other guys trying to avoid the other car sliding back down the track. He just chose inside instead of outside. It's a split second decision, and he made the wrong one. Could have happened to anyone. This kind of accident happens too frequently on ovals. Zanardi's was a similar one, and I recall Villeneuve running right into Matsushita on yellow, in much the same fashion. Both were uninjured, miraculously. I'd blame high-speed ovals ahead of open-wheel or open-cockpit.

posted by qbert72 at 06:20 PM on March 27, 2006

Just watched archived footage of Gilles Villeneuve's fatal crash. Ugghhh... Say what you will about safety in open-wheel racing today, but it's 99% better than it was back then. The 60's and 70's were simply horrible.

posted by Sanman at 10:19 PM on March 27, 2006

I admit I'm torn on the whole should they have not run the race question. Olberman on his MSNBC show Countdown came down on the side of they should not have run the race and I can see his point, but at the same time it's probably true that as dbt302 said Dana probably would have wanted it to go on. Still the winning team and crew could have shown a bit more class and dedicated it to him or made some sort of tribute like giving the wife the prize money.

posted by commander cody at 11:23 PM on March 27, 2006

seen the vid sunday nite, reminded me of daytona 2001 ,when i watched dale sr crash,dale hit that wall at 190 mph ..very sad about dana. and young too. that was just horrific to see..yeah, your right about chip..i'll bet he lost a lot of respect,after that celebration...

posted by ktown at 03:20 AM on March 28, 2006

In my racing fan memory, I can not recall a single race that was canceled or postponed because of a fatal accident. That's just not how it works. The show must go on, and everyone on the circuit needs to convince themselves that this is just one sad part of the show. Getting back at it as quickly as possible seems to help. Take San Marino 1994 for example. Two deaths on the racetrack, another guy almost paralysed, and they ran the race nevertheless. Two weeks later, another driver crashes and goes into coma. They still run the race. There's no excuse for Ganassi's behaviour, though.

posted by qbert72 at 08:33 AM on March 28, 2006

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