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RIP Dan Welden


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This race, my friends, in another flaming example of the greed that fills the professional world of race promotions and this race today will be my last IRL race ever.

The fact is, I doubt the IRL has fielded more than two dozen cars for any race this year until today when Shazam! there are all of a sudden 34 cars qualified for Vega at 220+ qualifying times.

The explanation is this. This was the last race for this old chassis so IRL allowed or promoted the hiring of part timers and hanging vinyl on every T car chassis they could find to make this a real spectacle......

12 laps into this frenzy and you know what happens..... 15 cars taken out, the track looks like a battle field, the catch fence in torn up, more than one car is airborn, one going into the catch fence cockpit first (Wheldon) and burning race cars parts are scattered everywhere.

All this in the name of puffing up the IRL brand. Airial shots showed maybe 10% of the seats filled......

The talent base in that series can't get 5laps into a typical race before they start knocking the wheels off of each other, but for promotional value they allow 34 cars at speeds way too fast for that venue, for that car count and look what happens.

Ironically, Dan Wheldon was doing the testing of next year's SAFER car which will carry rear bumpers. HA, they ought to hang spring steel bang strips around the entire cars so those dipzoids can just bounce off each other like the beginner go-carts......

Thus endeth the rant!

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<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/Former-open-wheel-driver-Scott-Speed-AJ-Allmendinger-discuss-dangers-of-oval-racing-101611?videoId=34d1fb13-1e61-4214-81ec-948508c11d90&amp;src=v5:embed::" target="_new" title="Wheldon killed in crash" rel="external nofollow">Video: Wheldon killed in crash</a>
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There were 33 cars in the Indianapolis 500 this year, as there has been every year since the 1940's. But Indy is a 2 1/2 mile track with nearly flat corners, and Vegas is a 1 mile, or 1 1/2 mile track with much taller banking. Draw your own conclusions.

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And they had to scramble to field 33 for INDY.

The lack of talent is evident in recent years at INDY at the start of the race. Back in the OLDEN days looking up the front straight from turn one, you'd see 11 rows three wide all the way to the back of the pack, nice and tidy just like it's supposed to be. This year you saw maybe three rows three wide and the rest of 'em were strung out clear out of sight back around turn 4. I'll bet these drivers driving less than full schedules were told by the IRL to get spread out and as far away from each other as possible to avoid the early lap mayhem. Even at that they didn't get in a lap under green.

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And they had to scramble to field 33 for INDY.

The lack of talent is evident in recent years at INDY at the start of the race. Back in the OLDEN days looking up the front straight from turn one, you'd see 11 rows three wide all the way to the back of the pack, nice and tidy just like it's supposed to be. This year you saw maybe three rows three wide and the rest of 'em were strung out clear out of sight back around turn 4. I'll bet these drivers driving less than full schedules were told by the IRL to get spread out and as far away from each other as possible to avoid the early lap mayhem. Even at that they didn't get in a lap under green.

Bruce,

You’re correct, the Indy series problems started with a power struggle between teams and the powers to be in Indianapolis. It could not have been at a worse time in that NASCAR was expanding rapidly in popularity. They then turned the league into a spec racing series and expanded it well beyond its popularity. They have changed everything majestic and epic about the Indianapolis 500 and are paying the price. They need to, before it is too late, scrape the icing off the cake and get back to the cake itself, if it is not already too late. I worked on the safety crews at the track for years and the change was disheartening. If you watch the car in the middle which started the chain of events he was out of control and not holding his line for quite some time before he made contact, definitely inexperience. But that being said I want to tip my hat to "Danny Boy", he was of a lost breed of gentlemen racer.

JLP

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During the 1999 cart season I went to the first race at the Chicago Motor Speedway and watched the race from the Players racing paddock, they asked me if I would be interested in coming to the last race of the season at Fontana but something in my gut said pass and I ended up not going. Later that evening one of my buddies called me and told me the bad news about Greg Moore, I was totally shocked and to think I would have been there watching from the pits would have been horrifying.

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The grand poobah of IRL had previously stated he would resign if he could not triple IRL's ratings. Having heard nothing today about quitting, I'm guessing being responsable for killing someone isn't on the same scale as improving ratings. Wonder how he slept last night.....

I hope some lawyers come along and burn the IRL to the ground for being criminally stupid.

Oh, and the $5 million Dan Wheldon was driving for yesterday was to have been and was offered to 5 drivers from outside IRL. Can you start from the back of the pack and win..... we'll give you $5 million. All five of those drivers had sense enough to decline just for the very reason you might suspect so they said Dan could do it because he had no regular team affiliation this year.....

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I work in the racing industry, and everyone I've talked with, has been critical of the IRL. This was an accident just waiting to happen. It could have taken place at any number of tracks. We've all seen the mayhem take place befor, only difference is nobody died when somebody ran out of talent. How ironic that one of the guy's with the most talent drew the short straw. I've been involved with racing since the late sixties, and it seems nothing gets done untill someone dies. So now something will be done to slow the cars down on the fast tracks like nascar does with their restrictor plates. Or, find a way to keep chain link fencing from ripping a car, or driver, into shreads. Or require drivers to have a certain experience level to compete. Or... (insert your own fix.) I'm a bit surprised that the IRL drivers havn't formed a group of their most experenced divers, like F1, to recommend ( require ? ) safety changes to tracks, cars, or driver experience level. It's going to be up to them to insure that Dan's death will save another driver's life by making positive safety changes. Remember, F1 drivers died on a regular basis till Senna's death. It shook people up enough that such sweeping changes were made, that no other F1 driver has died since. Let's remember Dan, and encourage positve changes, so racing can be racing, not death race 2012.

With respect,

Phred

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My prayers are for Dan Welden's family.

I could say lots of things about IRL, but there is only one thing I will say: When I was a child fatal accidents were a routine occurrence in open wheel racing. Today they are rare enough that we find them shocking. In the 60's and 70's people just shrugged and went on like nothing had happened.

Did the illusion of safety contribute to the magnitude of this event, or did the magnitude of this event shatter the illusion of safety? It is a "chicken and egg" question that cannot be easily answered.

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The scary thing is if that wreck had occured on a part of the track lined with fans we'd probably be dealing with spectator deaths as happened to the IRL at Charlotte NC a few years ago. I have been involved in racing and knew better than to go watch open wheel cars at a banked oval. It is a recipe for disaster. It is even worse when drivers with very little experience at those speeds are in the field. It sounds like this field was full of cars and drivers who should not have been there. Sadly Dan paid the ultimate price. I can't imagine being his spotter. The in care video from his car is very telling. Thankfully they cut away right before he gets airborn.

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I hope Dan's wife ends up owning the IRL. Bet lunch their attorneys were hunkered down behind closed doors yesterday in damage control mode.....

That $5 million Dan was driving for had been turned down by 5 drivers from outside the IRL. Why you might ask? For the obvious reason silly..... Too damned dangerous. Dan was given the opportunity because he was without a regular ride.

Let the depositions commence.

Randy Bernard, need help packing up your desk? Rating my butt, slick, you killed a guy!!

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