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10/17/2011

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As it stands right now, in order to fill out the schedule with the appropriate number of events and considering the organizations limited options with oval tracks that are willing to take on an "Indy" race, they will somehow have to make adjustments when racing on these high banked, high speed ovals that were designed specifically for stock cars. As Norris stated in his article, NASCAR learned that many years ago when average speeds started to creep up over 200mph. Accidents occurred in which the cars sometimes went airborne, so they introduced restrictor plate racing to slow the cars down on tracks like Talladega and Daytona where they usually have 40 or more cars in the event! The fact is, once you start running a consistent average of over 200 mph throughout the race(and I don't care how sophisticated the design), you are essentially aiming these things not driving them and,as we have seen, in a pack it can be disastrous. A human is driving these cars and just doesn't have the reaction capability to deal with problems at these speeds, should they arise. As a long-term motorsport fan and when attending a race, I really don't know the difference between 190 and 220mph and quite frankly, with any form of racing, I am much more interested in the competition, not the speeds and should there be an accident, I want the driver to be able to get out of the car on their own, not on a stretcher.

Rest In Peace Dan Wheldon. Indycar racing will never be the same without you.

Too many cars on too short a track with slow drivers intermingled with fast and skilled drivers held prisoner to the the skills of the lowest common denominator. A recipe for disaster.

Hi Norris. I'm a firm believer Indycar should just get out of ovals period. It's for the bump and grind Nascar style racing not the finesse of open wheel. At those speeds, bad things happen.

I watched Dale Earnhart crash and he was busy blocking those behind him that were lined up 3 abreast through the corner to protect jr.'s first place position and sure enough one of them tapped him and up he went into the wall. Earnhart put himself into that dangerous position and paid for it and officials looked at the car and equipment more than his driving style that caused the crash.

Norris,
Please note that Henry Surtees was killed by the wheel from from another competitor's car, not his own. All the more cruel that Henry was the victim of someone else's crash.

Excellent piece. Very well done.

My deepest condolenses to Dan's family, his wife and young children and to his racing famliy.

It is a terrible tragedy.

Is there a difference in the braking mechanisms of these cars on the oval tracks, or just the aerodynamics?
I essentially stopped watching oval racing when Greg Moore was killed in a 240 MPH accident. IndyCar spends less money developing cars, and has more inferior drivers than F1. They then put more of these drivers in a much smaller space at higher average speeds than F1, and surround them with concrete walls. It was only a matter of time until a tragedy like this occurred. American fans will never accept road racing as real racing because it's much harder to follow than a bunch of guys driving in a circle not using the brakes or the steering wheel for 4 hours. That's why IndyCar has to overload the schedule with oval races which aren't even interesting to most racing fans, but bring in the sponsorship dollars which come along with the casual channel flipper. North America is about minor league motorsports, just like it's about minor league soccer. We need to understand that, and turn IndyCar into an all road course series again, and feed F1 with drivers.

I will never forget being at the Toronto Indycar race this past summer and pointing out to my son that the man walking alone (and unnoticed) in front of us had just won the 2011 Indy 500. In a crowd of thousands of "race fans", how is it that the winner of racing's equivalent of the Masters can walk through a crowd unrecognized from the Paddocks to the Grid on race day? Obviously, Dan Wheldon is not a household name in Canada but I was shocked that not a single double-take was registered. He wore no sunglasses or head cover and seemed sadly small in street clothes. This is not in any way a knock on Toronto people but rather a symptom of the fatal disease that Indycar will inevitably succumb to; Greed.
Tony George is to blame for the initial infection and dozens of others for its malignancy. From CEO, Operations Chief and marketers, to the 8-10 drivers that have no business anywhere near a big-league racetrack, yesterday's tragedy is on their heads. The poor bastard that was put at the back of the field at Las Vegas, in a Circus-like attempt to generate interest (the stands were empty), was the victim of this pathetic stunt and his family is paying for it.
The entire 2011 season seemed tainted by incompetence on and off the track. The many under qualified drivers, simply paying for a ride in a rental car, and the obvious stupidity of the people making decisions in the tower led to the death of Dan Wheldon in what can never be described as a "racing incident". This was a catastrophe at the hands of desperate businessmen.
Dan Wheldon is a hero as a world-class Champion open wheel race driver, end of story.

Everybody is an expert at times like this... sometimes terrible s--- happens to good people in spite of all improvements in safey and technology. To be completely free of risk is a pipe dream.
R.I.P. Dan, you died doing what you loved.

Racing is a dangerous sport, especially on oval tracks. Should IndyCars avoid ovals? I don't think so, but they should stay away from the LAs Vegas type tracks: short tracks with high banking.
Dan Wheldon was an exceptional driver and a great person. It is a terrible tragedy that we lost him.
I was a big fan of CART and IndyCar racing but after the split it all went downhill. Shame, really.

The problem is not Indycars on ovals, the problem is Indycars in pack racing--just like restrictor plate BS in NASCAR.

And it happens because of the nature of the track: lots of banking and relatively large.

1.5 mile crapovals with NASCAR are boring. 1.5 mile crapovals with Indycars are terrifying.

The solution is to go back to Milwaulkee, go back to PPIR (if it even still exists), go back to Phoenix, go back to Loudon... Go back to tracks that require drivers to DRIVE instead of being passengers, that require different lines, and passing, and braking, and actual skill instead of just pure balls and luck.

And other than Indy, keep them 1 mile or less.

There are inherent risks in motor racing. Injury or death will always be a part of motor racing...we all hope it does not happen...but anyone stepping into a race car should be smart enough to understand the possible consequences. I do not think there is someone holding a gun to a drivers head saying you must drive. For want of a better phrase 'You do the crime expect to do the time'.

Yeah, and it only seems to be non-racers who ever say that. I race short track stockcars myself, of course I know there's "always a chance." That doesn't mean you don't maximize safety. Taking Indycars off of tracks they don't belong on is maximizing safety. Racing around the big ovals requires all balls and zero skill. You just hold your foot to the mat, deal with the high g-forces, and hope to hell you don't miss a beat. Just like restrictor plate racing. It's not racing and it's unnecessarily dangerous.

John..I did race formula cars back in the cut throat 70's...in one of the most competitive series ever run in North America and also in Europe. We were not surrounded by steel as you are in your short track car. If you do not like a track do not enter the race quite simple.
By the way I was a real racer. I also use my full name in blogs...maybe you should check...before you say something silly.

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