As I’ve written a column about Dan Wheldon for the Saturday Star Wheels section (online tomorrow), I’m about to move on. But here are some parting thoughts.
As Jimmy Durante used to say, “Everybody wants ta get inta da act.”
So Jimmie Johnson was first out of the gate to say IndyCar shouldn’t be racing on ovals. The five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, who’s never raced an Indy car, has since modified his position because of the backlash, but he’s still talking about something he doesn’t know anything about.
Then retired F1 driver David Coulthard, who’s never raced an Indy car, spouted off with his two cents.
Now we have Mark Webber, who’s never etc., saying that “what organisers certainly have to do is work out how to stop cars leaving the ground and flying into the air in such situations.”
Isn’t this the same guy who nearly went into orbit last year when he ran into the back of Heikki Kovalainen at the Valencia circuit in Spain (watch video here)? I didn’t see a quote from him after he landed in which he said that F1 organizers “certainly have to work out how to stop cars leaving the ground and flying into the air in such situations.”
Then we have Jean Alesi, who’s never etc., saying that the Wheldon crash hasn’t spooked him about racing in the Indianapolis 500 next May. Why?
“What happened at Las Vegas can't happen in Indy: the banking there is negligible and most of all you never take it flat out except in qualifying."
How does he know?
Who are these people?
Don’t you find it interesting that the two guys who know what racing an Indy car is all about – Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya – haven’t said squat about the Wheldon crash?
So here is a quote to chew on:
Confucius: “It’s better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
That kind of fits, doesn't it?
Somebody wrote in their blog that auto racing should be outlawed as a result of the Wheldon accident.
In the last three weeks, three people participating in city marathons (including one in Toronto last weekend) died of heart attacks.
I think marathon running should be outlawed...
By the way, most auto racing websites are reporting that the FIA and ACCUS (Automobile Competition Committee for the United States) are part of the team investigating the Wheldon accident.
IndyCar revised that this morning:
“As part of our standard safety protocol, a full investigation has been launched by IndyCar, with assistance from individual members of various motorsports bodies. It was incorrect to state that either ACCUS or FIA are formally involved.”
Bob Winegar, who’s been around racing forever, works for a courier company. He makes a run to Buffalo every couple of weeks and keeps me up to date on what’s happening at the site of the proposed Canadian Motor Speedway in Fort Erie (which is, according to his latest report, nothing).
Bob emailed me this yesterday:
“At a time in my life when I should probably be developing a Bucket List, I've opted instead to put the pedal to the metal and create an IZOD IndyCar List.
My suggestions (some borrowed):
- reduce speeds on ovals
- have more street or road races, less roundy-round
- design catch fencing with flex
- add roll cages similar to supermodifieds
- reduce fields from 33 (or 34) to 24 on ovals
- starts 2 wide, restarts single file
- eliminate big dollar prizes for winning from scratch position
Will these suggestions ever be enacted by an IndyCar hierarchy soaked with rodeo machismo, cowboys who say, "You just gotta get back on that bull, boy!"
The answer is yes, if you believe;
- that Elvis will make a personal appearance at Collingwood next summer
- that Charlie Sheen will become a Tibetan monk, go to India and become known as Father Teresa
- that Bill Barilko, haggard and gnarly, will re-emerge from the wilderness to lead the Leafs to their first Stanley Cup in 45 years.
It will only be through media pressure that meaningful changes in safety will come to IndyCar racing.”
I mostly agree, Bob. Thanks.