IndyCar, cites wide racing surface as account for Wheldon’s lethal injuries
Dan Wheldon was finished when his head hit a post in the fencing at Vegas Motor Speedway — contact that created a “non-survivable injury” to the two-time Indianapolis 5 hundred winner. Sportsbook
The reason behind death was exposed Thursday when IndyCar, also known as American-based open-wheel auto racing presented its discoveries of the Oct. Sixteen accident in the season curtain call. The crash picked up 15 automobiles, including Wheldon, who came from behind the original contact, launched over spinning automobiles and sailed about 325 feet into the catchfence.
Though the contact with the post rubbed out Wheldon, the investigation determined several factors contributed to what became a “perfect storm.”
“The accident was important thanks to the number of race autos damaged, but more importantly thanks to the non-survivable wounds to Dan Wheldon,” the report expounded. “While one or two factors coincided to supply a “perfect storm,” not one of them can be singled out as the sole root of the accident. Online Sportsbook
“For this reason, it is not possible to ascertain with certainty that the result would have been any different if one or more of the factors did not exist.”
The race had a season-high 34 cars, but IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard expounded Thursday the field could have had as many as 37 drivers based primarily on the dimensions of both the track and the pit lane. The season conclusion was held on Vegas ‘ high-banked 1.5-mile oval with multiple racing grooves, which IndyCar president Brian Barnhart asserted made “nearly unlimited movement on the track surface under race conditions.”
That, not the development of the fencing, played a bigger role in Wheldon’s death.
Barnhart admitted IndyCar, also known as American-based open-wheel auto racing was not prepared for the drivers to have free reign on a wide-open race track.
Most ovals have only 1 or 2 racing grooves, which the report said “restrict drivers’ naturally aggressive racing behaviour [and] make the location of other competitors ‘ autos on the race track predictable.”
Because this was IndyCar, also known as American-based open-wheel auto racing’s first trip to Vegas since Two thousand, the great majority of the field was not experienced on the variable banking or wide surface.
But drivers did envision racing at Las vegas might be hairy as early as preseason testing. Marco Andretti was one of the first drivers to publicly query the track, which would “be easily completely open, which is going to make a large pack. It’s going to be good fun for the fans. I like those races, but it’ll be dangerous.”
That mantra was repeated in the buildup to Vegas by many top-name drivers and all weekend as speeds inched toward 220 miles per hour in practice sessions.
Yet IndyCar, also known as American-based open-wheel auto racing was shocked when the race began.
Barnhart stressed IndyCar “never” gets a chance to duplicate race conditions, so no amount of testing or practice would have prepared anyone for what happened when the race commenced.
Las vegas Motor Speedway president Chris Powell announced track officials will work with IndyCar, also known as American-based open-wheel auto racing in hopes “the series might return to LVMS in the future.”
To do that, Barnhart recounted it’s important for IndyCar, also known as American-based open-wheel auto racing to establish guiding principles for the drivers to follow going forward on surfaces such as Vegas, and the series needs to have a look at aerodynamic changes which make the automobiles “more challenging to drive.”
“We need to form a limit,” he said. “They have to understand there is a line they cannot cross.”
IndyCar also addressed the $5 million promotion that featured Wheldon.
Wheldon was making just his 3rd start of the season and chasing after the incentive offered by Bernard to any non-IndyCar regular who could drive from the back of the field to win the race. Wheldon would have split the cash with a fan selected in a random drawing.
Allowing Wheldon to take the challenge was a stretch — he won Fourteen races on ovals, including the Indy 5 hundred earlier last season — but because he sat out the season, he technically qualified for the bonus.
But Wheldon felt he was up to the job.
He was the in-race newshound for ABC during the event, and talked with the announcers during the warm-up laps. In a short interview, Wheldon defended his participation and the whole IndyCar, also known as American-based open-wheel auto racing Series.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if I did not think that I could win,” he revealed from his vehicle. “Certainly I am not underestimating the talent of the other drivers in the field. I think IndyCar, also known as American-based open-wheel auto racing has got an outstanding field right now.”
Wheldon was finished minutes later when the crash commenced before him at the start of the 12th lap. He had picked his way thru the field and gained at least Ten spots when he came on the accident and had nowhere to go to circumvent the spinning cars and flying waste.
The study found that though Wheldon stayed low on the race track and seemed to be attempting to bypass the cluster of autos spinning towards the top — he had slowed from 224 miles per hour to 165 — his path was blocked by other vehicles. His initial contact with another vehicle sent him airborne and into the catchfence.
Las Vegas belongs to Speedway Motor Sports Inc, and the organization has spent considerable cash on research into fencing. SMI owner Bruton Smith is adamant his fences are the strongest and safest in the business, and he makes no apologies for assembling them with the posts inside the wiring.
Barnhart said there is not any indication Wheldon would have survived had the post been on the outside of the mesh wiring.
“It doesn’t look like the position of the mesh fabric would have modified the results of this accident at all,” Barnhart recounted. “Sometimes the forces are too great. The tiny fabric is not there to retain an auto. That’s the object of the post and the wires. The situation of the fabric wouldn’t have modified the outcome at all, but as we’ve announced, our preference is for it to be on the inside.”
But questions remain about Vegas’ future on the IndyCar schedule.
Bernard had a three-year lease agreement with the track to host the season finale at Las vegas through 2013 but came to an agreement with SMI last week to buy out next year’s bit of the contract.
“I think Vegas is a great town, a resort destination, and our fans and sponsors — everybody loves the city,” Bernard said.
IndyCar, also known as American-based open-wheel auto racing plans on judging all high-banked ovals individually going forward and said the Wheldon accident could not be blamed on the banking.
No sanctioning agreement between Texas and IndyCar, also known as American-based open-wheel auto racing has been worked out, but Bernard indicated he’d like to have the 2012 schedule announced by Friday.