IRL Driver Paul Dana died after a two-car crash Sunday during the warmup for the season-opening IRL IndyCar Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
My thoughts and prayers goes out to his family, friends and fans.
Paul Dana succumbs to injuries in Homestead crash
Date 2006-03-26 (Homestead, FL)
By Joe Jennings - Motorsport.com
Paul Dana has succumbed to injuries sustained Sunday morning in a high-speed practice crash at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, according to an announcement made jointly by Brian Barnhart, president and chief operating officer for the Indy Racing League, and Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing Team, for whom Dana was driving.
"Paul Dana succumbed to his injuries shortly before Noon," Barnhart said. The accident happened at approximately 10:03 a.m., and he was immediately airlifted to the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL. Although an official cause of death was not stated, Barnhart indicated that multiple trauma was the probable cause.
"On behalf of our entire team, our sympathies go out to Tonya (Dana) and their entire family," Rahal said. "It is a very black day for us. As a result, we have withdrawn our #15 (Buddy Rice) and our #16 (Danica Patrick) cars from today's race. These cars are expected to race at St. Petersburg (FL) next weekend." Rahal indicated no decision had been made whether Dana's car will be entered in the next race.
Barnhart said today's race will go on as scheduled. The decision was made after discussions with International Speedway Corporation and HMS track president Curtis Gray.
Rahal stated he had reviewed the communication between his team and Dana, and no problem was apparent.
The accident occurred at approximately 10:03 a.m., moments after the last practice session started in preparation for today's Toyota Indy 300, the opening race of the IndyCar Series season. It happened after Ed Carpenter spun and struck the wall, coming to a stop on the track. While three or four cars managed to avoid hitting Carpenter, Dana struck him at high speed, launching his Rahal Letterman car over Carpenter and into the wall.
Carpenter was also airlifted to the Jackson Memorial Hospital where he is being treated for minor injuries. No further information is available on Carpenter, the step-son of Indy Racing League founder and chief executive officer Tony George.
Dana, age 30, was a native of St. Louis, and a resident of Indianapolis. He earned a journalism degree from Northwestern University and briefly covered motorsports for several publications. His race career started ten years ago in the Bridgestone Racing School Mechanics Championship where he scored two wins and six top-five finishes. Thereafter, he advanced to the Bridgestone Racing School Championship Series, the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Series and then to the FF1600 SCCA Nationals. Thereafter, he made his debut in the USF2000 series in 2001 and was a rookie in the Indy Pro Series in 2003. A year later he finished second in the IPS point standings with a victory at Milwaukee.
A year ago, Dana made his IndyCar Series debut at Homestead, finishing tenth in the Ethanaol Hemelgarn Racing entry. He competed in two more races before suffering a broken back during a practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He spent the remainder of the 2005 recovering from his injuries, and today's Toyota Indy 300 was to be his first race since the accident.
Dana's death is the third in the history of the Homestead-Miami Speedway, the others being John Nemechek in a Craftsman Truck Series race and Jeff Clinton in a Rolex Sports Car Series race. Also, Dana became the third fatality in the history of the IndyCar Series, all of which occurred during practice crashes. Tony Renna and Scott Brayton were the other two fatalities.