The cut-and-thrust action in the opening laps at Las Vegas (MAIN) offered thrills, but the ugly consequences manifested themselves all too soon (BELOW).
The milk of human kindness Outside the gates of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, hundreds of fans left their own touching tributes to a lost hero who twice conquered the world’s biggest race.
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SEEING THROUGH THE SMOKE
First came shock, then numbing disbelief, followed by determination in the IndyCar
community to learn the pertinent lessons from the tragic death of Dan Wheldon
Perhaps never before in racing history has an event been
so keenly anticipated and then so quickly, dreadfully,
Job one, obviously, is to cut through emotional attachments
to the pros and cons of IndyCar’s intense, pack-style racing on
high-banked ovals like Las Vegas,which was the easiest target for
critics in the aftermath of the crash that killed Dan Wheldon.
Was the record 34-car field too big for the 1.5-mile track? Were the
drivers showing insufficient respect to each other, particularly so
early in the race? Are there viable options for improving catch
fence safety? Everyone, it seemed, had an opinion and a theory,
but Bernard made it clear he wanted facts, ASAP.
“We’ve got a lot to do, and we don’t have any time to mess
around,” Bernard told the Associated Press. “We need answers.
We must continue to move forward with a thorough
investigation; fortunately, that has
already begun, and we have the protocols
in place to get this done. This was a
tragic accident, and IndyCar needs to
understand everything possible about it.”
Former FIA boss Max Mosley – who
was charged with leading Formula 1’s
response to Ayrton Senna’s death in a
racing accident in 1994 – warned IndyCar
to avoid making knee-jerk reactions in
response to the pressures that will
inevitably follow. He added, however,
that tragedy is often the most effective
motivation for positive change.
“It is very annoying but it is difficult
to get people to think seriously about
We’ve got a lot to do, and
we don’t have any time to
safety unless there is an incident,” he
said. “We are doing research all the time
but you get some weight behind it when
there is a serious incident.
“Having said that, one must
remember that when you look at the
footage of the crash, it is actually quite
remarkable that it did not produce
another, or two or three other, fatalities.
So it says a lot for the work that is already
being done that there was only one.”
Building on that progress, we hope,
will be a part of Dan Wheldon’s legacy.