Here we go again. Dan Wheldon, a highly talented, respected and loved race driver dies in a horrifying crash that should have been prevented. IndyCar racing has now claimed six drivers since 1996. Six were injured in this 15-car crash alone. Driver Alex Zanardi lost both his legs in a crash in 2001.
Sunday’s IndyCar 300 race in Las Vegas was just another example of how U.S. open-wheel racing has persistently become more dangerous. In the words of ex-Formula 1 world champion Jody Scheckter (whose son was in the race), the drivers are “wheel to wheel all the time.” IndyCar racing is unsafe, “the most dangerous form of motor racing at the moment.”
The problem is too many cars, all running flat-out on circuits that are too short so that the cars are all bunched up all the time.
The field at Las Vegas was 34 cars running on a short 1.5-mile oval with progressively high banking, sometimes four abreast at speeds of 220 mph—much faster than Formula 1 cars.