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    RIP- Paul Dana

    HOMESTEAD, Fla. - 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.

    The other driver, Ed Carpenter, was awake and alert at a Miami hospital, IRL officials said.

    Dana, 30, a former motorsports journalist with a degree from Northwestern, was a rookie who competed in three IRL races for Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing last year with a best finish of 10th in the race at Homestead.

    The Toyota Indy 300 race was expected to be run as scheduled. Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing for which Dana was to race this season, said the team's other two cars - driven by Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice - will be pulled out of the race.

    Dana's wife, Tonya, was in Indianapolis, where the couple lived, and was notified of her husband's death while attending a church service.

    "Obviously, this is a very black day for us," Rahal said. "This is a great tragedy."

    Carpenter spun and hit the wall moments after the practice began at 10 a.m. EST. As Carpenter's battered car slid to a stop, Dana slammed into it at almost full speed - about 200 mph.

    Dana's car nearly split in half. The chassis flew about 6 feet off the ground and pieces were strewn down the track. It nearly turned over, but landed on its wheels before sliding to a halt.

    Buddy Lazier said Dana passed him and Scott Sharp after both slowed because of the accident.

    "He carried way too much speed in and wasn't aware of what was going on around him," Lazier said.

    There was no immediate explanation for Dana's failure to slow down several seconds after the yellow lights came on around the track because of Carpenter's crash.

    "That's just the first time of the weekend that we got all 20 cars on the track at the same time," said IRL president Brian Barnhart. "Ed had his problem in turn two initially. The yellow lights were called immediately and all systems functioned properly. It's just a busy time out there, with a lot of cars and a lot of traffic."

    Rahal said the team knew of no problem with communications.

    "The spotter made clear the incident," Rahal said. "From what I could see, there was a car on the outside. Paul was just passing or had just passed, but I think it would be conjecture and probably very irresponsible for me to try to dissect as to why what happened, happened. But there was no problem with communication."

    It took track safety workers about 15 minutes to get both drivers out of their cars. The practice session did not resume.

    Rahal, who co-owns the team with television talk show host David Letterman, said the plan was to field cars for Patrick and Rice at next Sunday's race in St. Petersburg, Fla. He said any future plans for the No. 17 entry, the car driven by Dana, "are unclear at this time."

    Dana and Carpenter, the stepson of IRL founder Tony George, both were airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. IRL officials said Dana died shortly before noon.

    Vision Racing team general manager Larry Curry said he was told Carpenter "would be fine."

    Dana is the first IRL driver killed since Tony Renna died in a crash during testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2003. The last
    NASCAR driver killed was Dale Earnhardt in February 2001, and the last driver to die in Formula One was Ayrton Senna in May 1994.

    It is the third racing death at the Homestead track - John Nemechek was killed in a NASCAR truck race in February 1997 and Jeff Clinton died in a Grand Am sports car event at the track in March 2002.

    Re: RIP- Paul Dana

    I have seen the replay of the crash many a time, just very sad indeed.

    Re: RIP- Paul Dana

    Very sad . RIP Paul.

    Re: RIP- Paul Dana

    I saw the crash today on CBS. The first part of the video showed the crashed car and I said to myself "hey, this guy is lucky, nothing serious happened"...then BOOOOM...the other car crashed into it and put it to little pieces. I didn't have to listen to the comment of the reporter anymore, I was pretty sure that nobody could have survived it. Very sad indeed, I just wish they would find some sort of immediate safety shut off/warning flashes/beeping tone in the helmet ear speakers/etc. to avoid such tragic accidents in the future.

    RIP, Paul Dana...

    Re: RIP- Paul Dana

    very sad.. RIP

    Re: RIP- Paul Dana

    RIP. Very tragic story. It's been a bad week for motorsports with Jorg Bastuck being tragically killed too.

    Re: RIP- Paul Dana

    One second you are happy to be living your dream...

    From the time Ed Carpenter hit the wall, approx. seven seconds elapsed before Paul Dana hit him.

    After freeze framing the video multiple times and letting my mind run riot, I have concluded my speculation with the notion that the drivers were aware of the accident but could not plan evasive action too much in advance. They had to make a quick decision at the right time. Two cars aimed and escaped low, another very low, and one high. Dana realized late that the low door had closed and as he braked and swerved to go high, he hit Carpenter.

    Hopefully, Paul exited the stage with few to no regrets. R.I.P., Paul.


    Re: RIP- Paul Dana

    I'm sure Paul knew the risks of driving. Moreover, I'm sure he had very few regrets in regard to his decision to do this sport. He had written about it and followed it like a nut for years.... and he finally got to goto the big game. He died doing the one thing he loved on the biggest can you regret that? Accidents are part of the sport, sadly; and he will be remembered as a racer, not a guy that wrote about it all of the time and wanted to do it.

    Re: RIP- Paul Dana

    0two9 said:
    He died doing the one thing he loved on the biggest can you regret that?

    As you said well, Otwo9, he was unlikely to regret racing. However, racing was but one facet of his life.



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