RIP Dan Wheldon
-Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog
I saw this in a movie about a bus that had to speed around the city, keeping its speed over fifty, and if its speed dropped, the bus would explode! I think it was called, "The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down."
Its unfortunate that there really is nothing that can be done about this type of thing but to mourn and carry on really. RIP Weldon.
You think you hate it now. Wait til you drive it.
IMHO, this is part of the sport. There are far fewer fatalities now than at any time in the sports history, and I think this has tempered and spoiled all involved. Part of the attraction is driver risk. I recall reading editorials from the twenties and part of the attraction to indy and other races was (I paraphrase here) 'man operating machinery and risking life and limb for glory.' Why not have the 'drivers' operate the vehicles by remote control as they sit in the pit lane? You can have ultra-high speed and virtually no risk whatsoever. Why not just scale the vehicles down and watch radio-controlled car races?
The death is tragic, particularly for his family. It is part of the risk that one accepts and gets paid handsomely to take while doing one of the things that most TClers would gladly do for free. If the risk is too much they should choose not to do it and if a viewer feels that risk is unnaceptable then they shouldn't watch. I don't want to see it neutered more than it already is because of this.
That said if the changes are made and everyone is safer and people continue to watch then fantastic. I just think that the changes that tend to make things safer also tend to take something away from the event. There are quite a few series that have gone this way already. To me F1 hasn't been the same for many years, for instance. Hopefully any changes are well thought out.
As sad as this is I don't honestly understand the public outcry that they shouldn't have been on that track, the cars are unsafe etc.
It's RACING. Motorsports. 200+ MPH. Men have been pushing the limits of every single machine since the machines were invented. Planes, cars, boats, ****ing lawnmowers. When you push the limits of man and machine **** happens. When it happens you can't expect it to be without incident. I don't care how much safety you implement. Barrel rolling into the wall at 200 miles an hour in an open cockpit car is clearly not going to end well.
As much recognition as Dan deserves and as tragic as it is this accident was horrific in every way. The fact that 14 other drivers basically WALKED AWAY is simply amazing.
Soldiers are killed. Firemen will die in house fires. Racecar drivers will be killed. It's the nature of the job and one of the risks and while that doesn't make it any less tragic it's something we simply have to accept and be glad that motorsports as a whole is far safer today in every form than it has ever been.
One of the things that I loved about CART over IRL was the street courses. To me, it was so much more interesting. Indianapolis is pretty cool, but make it special by limiting the amount of high speed ovals.
Ovals work for NASCAR because they're full fendered cars that can bump and grind in traffic. Open wheeled cars simply aren't designed for that. Even with the new design for what's effectively a rear bumper, the front tires are still out there in the open.
I'd love to see a race season that was 80% road and street and 20% ovals.
With Chevrolet re-entering as an engine supplier, go back to Belle Isle.
I'd love to see Surfer's Paradise again too.
Give us that Las Vegas Strip street track that's been promised for over a decade.
Go back to Cleveland. I always thought it was so cool that they were racing on an airport tarmac.
With turbocharged cars returning, go back to Denver and explain how the mile high city allows for the cars to remain fast and competitive thanks to the turbos
Back to Toronto for Exhibition place
Use the road course at Twin Ring Motegi
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal is another great racing venue and draws F1 comparisons when run
How about Reliant Park to replace one of the Texas ovals?
Maybe a return to PNW at PIR
They've done a better job of integrating more twisty tracks in, but they should consider fully integrating them. Most of these ovals have inner tracks to run on... run those instead. You still get some straightaway speeds to keep the speedfreaks happy and then you have prominence with the people who hate 'left turn racing'
Right now, there's 8 ovals and 9 tracks.
Not to mention, you bring the speeds down to a safer level.
The last Road course death I can think of was 1999 CART at Laguna Seca. All the IRL deaths seem to be on Ovals.
sucks that someone had to die to get the drivers to stand up and say "Hey guys, this isn't safe..."
I love cars, but the problem is they are like schroedinger's hobby. They're always in a quantum superstate of being both awesome and a huge waste of time and money... until observation momentarily forces them into one state or another.
I remember going to Watkins Glen years ago and walking around the grounds before anything was going on on track. All of a sudden, Dan Wheldon came out and started talking; I was stoked to see an Indy driver in person. Ever since then, I'd see him racing and think "I saw him at Watkins Glen!" and now it's horribly sad to think he's gone.
I snapped a picture of that moment:
What's also sad is that Wheldon was involved in testing the car for next year, the Dallara concept, which has structures behind the wheels to prevent exactly these kinds of things from happening.
Last edited by Murderface; 10-17-2011 at 12:04 PM.
From my armchair perspective, the difference between Indianapolis and the nascar banked tracks is that there is only one way to go wide open around Indy, and there are several lines that can be held wide open at tracks like Las Vegas. The drivers know this, so there has to be some letting off when cars are close in the corners at Indy. This leads to the field being strung out within minutes at the 500. Not so at a track like Las Vegas.
Las Vegas was rebanked in the mid 2000's I believe, to a "variable banking" configuration, to artificially produce more side by side racing for the nascar series. This type of track design is simply incompatible with the open wheel cars.
i know the spirit of indy, F1, and cart is open wheel racing, but almost all the deaths in the last 15-20 years have been from stuff entering the cockpit/head trauma...the most recent being Massa's head injury from a suspension spring. a structural windshield and roof could save some lives. there are trade-offs with the ease of ingress/egress in an emergency, but it seems like it wouldn't be hard to engineer given the time and effort already put into the chassis and body work.
perhaps we can stop having RIP threads like this...
RIP Dan Weldon...always a champion on and off the track.
Please learn from life. For all that there is good and bad.
We all believe that IRL and other racing organizations will learn from this an implement the changes necessary to bring better racing. Dan has left a positive impact on the sport and its a shame he didn't get to see it carried through.
-Open wheel caused Dan's car to launch after initial contact.
-Open cockpit exposed Dan's head to the fencing and wall.
Honestly, I blame open wheel more than open cockpit. Had the collision been between two NASCARs or two LMP cars, there would probably been no issue.
In modern racing, on track deaths usually do lead to some big safety changes- either by the racing organization through rule changes, or initiated by the teams themselves (John Force).
So his death may save future driver lives.
That driver visibility thing is one of the fan draws.
So they just need to decide if they want an enclosed car or not.
That roof may protect the drive from flying debris, but it won't help much in a crash like Wheldon's. It might have helped protect his head from directly hitting the wall, but the impact would have jarred his head away from his body (and the HANS device is not designed for that load vector). IOW- it doesn't dissipate the impact force like the carbon tubs do.
I think a batter option would be an open roll bar type system.
That way the drivers can still get in and out quickly (and maybe even quicker if they have a roll bar to garb), they are still very visible while driving, there are no added surfaces to dirty up and limit visibility, and going away from transparent gives the engineers many more viable options for crash protection.
The same idea could be applied to any open wheel racing.
And an open roll cage would still allow the driver to be seen in the cockpit while giving enclosed race car protection (as it's the roll/crash cage structure and not the cosmetic skin that protects in race cars anyway).
Last edited by RacingManiac; 10-17-2011 at 01:42 PM.
“There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” Ernest Hemingway
When I saw Jeff Krosnoff's crash in 96, Greg Moore 99, and then Weldon I knew instantly that they had passed. In my heart I wanted them to survive but my mind knew the deal. The only time my initial thought was wrong was Kenny Brack at Texas ISW (Thank goodness!!). It is the shear violence of there crashes!! Also the Catch Fence is playing a deadly part in these crashes!! While it "catches" the car and prevents large debris in the crowd, it also tears the car apart and spins/twists/flips the car/driver compartment. Alex Zanardi didn't get caught in the fence and I think that gave him a fighting chance. Tony Gorge's pack racing has finally reached its potential. Just sucks such a good dude paid that price.
UNDER STEER MUST DIE!!!
As my skills/abilities increase UNDER STEER magically disappears!!!
From the looks of Dan's crash he landed cockpit down on the wall. The pic of them evac'ing him w/a blanket over his face says it all. I don't even think a "safer" barrier would have helped in this case. Watching the wreck in realtime is just amazing to watch how quickly it unfolded.
When Mario Andretti has his Dallara Lift-Off Experience™, I remember him saying that when the Dallara was in low downforce configuration(1mi+ ovals), that there was a negative pressure applied to the nose, so in actuality, the car is always trying to take off. So when it gets that one little chance and the nose starts to lift slightly, it's all the invitation it needs to get sent into the air like a leaf.
Interesting Andretti said that. Wow.. as someone else mentioned the ACO has been trying to do something about cars getting airborne when they go across the grass or things like that sideways. Seems to have worked w/the ugly shark fin at LM this year when McNish went off at the Dunlop Curves and the car stayed down. If he was in the R10 or the R15 I shudder to think what would have happened b/c he too came down on the wall, but fortunately he was in a closed top proto. Rockenfeller.. same thing.. sideways on the straight leading up to Indy when he got clipped by a 458. He didn't go over.
I think everyone will be glad to see this stupid chassis finally go. Unfortunate it had to be this way.
i used to follow IndyCar and NASCAR when i was a kid. Kinda stopped watching as i grew older. That in car video that was posted earlier was insane! . The pictures of the crash look worse than the video actually...I didnt know who Dan Wheldon was untill i came across the thread, but reading up on him just makes it really sad . Whats worse is he leaves behind a wife and two small children who now have to grow up without a dad....
RIP Dan Wheldon