Crash kills Indy driver Paul Dana

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Paul Dana

Indy Racing League (IRL) driver Paul Dana died Sunday afternoon, following injuries sustained during a crash in the warmup session of the Toyota 300 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

During the warmup, Ed Carpenter's car spun out of control heading into a turn due to a tire failure. Carpenter's car hit the raceway wall and went into a spin down the race track when Dana hit his car on the side while travelling at over 200 mph (321 km/h). The team reported that Paul was warned of the danger by his spotter, but did not ease off as much as other drivers in the section of the track. The slow-motion footage appeared to show Paul hitting debris from Ed's car a few seconds before the main impact.

Both were taken to a nearby hospital, where Dana died nearly two hours later, shortly after noon local time (1700 UTC). According to Henry Block, senior director of medical services for the IRL, Carpenter was listed in stable condition at the hospital.

Dana's wife, who was attending a church service in Indianapolis at the time, was informed of his death shortly afterwards.

Despite Dana's death, the Toyota 300 continued as scheduled. However, teammates Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice did not compete. Dan Wheldon beat Helio Castroneves by the car's cone nose to win the race. Wheldon had placed Dana's number, #17, onto his car before the race.

Dana's death is the first in the league for nearly three years. Tony Renna, the last driver in the league to die in a fatal accident, was killed during a test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dana was also the first death at Homestead since 1997, when NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racer John Nemechek was killed in an accident.


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