MARCH 27, 2006
Wheldon wins sad victory
Dan Wheldon gave notice of his desire to get to Formula 1 by starting his career with Target Chip Ganassi Racing with a victory at Homestead, but the death of rookie Paul Dana in a crash in the pre-race warm-up cast a shadow over the Indy Racing League's opening event. Rahal Letterman Racing, for which Dana was driving, withdrew the cars of Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick after the accident.
The crash happened in the opneing minutes of the warm-up on Sunday morning when Ed Carpenter spun his Vision Racing Dallara in Turn 2. The car was sliding slowly down the track when Dana arrived on the scene at 200mph. There was a fraction of a second of braking before Dana's car hit the left rear of Carpenter's car. The impact was collosal and sent Carpenter's car spinning down the track. The front end of Dana's car was launched upwards and the remains of the car then landed and slid on into the wall. Dana and Carpenter were both airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami where Dana was pronounced dead.
Four other cars avoided the wreck before Dana arrived on the scene and the yellow caution lights had been showing for several seconds before the crash happened.
Dana is the third IRL driver to die in an accident. Scott Brayton was killed in practice for the Indianapolis 500 in 1996 and then two years ago Tony Renna died in a testing crash at Indy.
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