Dana dies after crash in warmup for IRL race
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. "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 am EST. As Carpenter's battered car slid to a stop, Dana slammed into it at almost full speed.
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. 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.