October 16, 2011

15 race cars crash...

... the video.

28 comments:

Anga2010 said...

It's horrible and I hate it when my favorite driver (or any driver for that matter) dies.
Let's make things a little bit safer guys, ok?

Dan said...

I was at the race today and it is something I would ever want to see again. You knew, even from a distance, something bad happened. The crowd was very respectful, even though there was 2 a hour delay. No one was pissed because the track announcer pretty much hinted that he had died well before the official anouncement.
I'll be posting first hand info in about an hour at Lasvegasbadger.blogspot.com

edutcher said...

I read about this a couple of hours ago. Danica Patrick gave a very graphic account.

That piece, off Yahoo news, mentioned this was the first fatality in 5 years. It also had a picture of him with his wife and kids - nice looking people, all of them.

My sympathies to his family.

rhhardin said...

"...and from high above, you can see the carnage" was amusing.

Pastafarian said...

He was 33 with two little children.

I once watched Indy racing when it was on. One reason I don't any more: I don't want to see Danica Patrick flip into the wall at 200 mph. She's a good driver, I root for her, and she'd do better if they didn't add 50 pounds of dead weight beneath her seat to penalize her for weighing less than other drivers. (Absurd. Like making a 7 foot center play on his knees in the NBA.)

But, even though it's sexist, I just don't want to see her miss death by inches with every lap. I blame the fact that I have daughters.

Lava said...

Dan Wheldon was a real gentleman, and his desire to drive Indy cars when no one (!) would give him a ride speaks to his passion for the sport. I've been to Indy many times to see the race; not to see death, but to see superb athletes cheat it on every lap. I was there this year when he put himself in position to win. He broke down in tears during the post-race interview, talking about his "mum and his family." Very touching.

Godspeed, Dan Wheldon.

Crimso said...

Unlike Dan, I was happily not there. But I was watching it live on TV. My first thought was "Somebody was probably killed in that." I've watched Indy cars pretty much as far back as I can remember (personally witnessed Sullivan's "spin and win" at the 1985 Indy 500). I've seen those cars crash just about every which way, and that was without a doubt one of the worst.

EDH said...

The announcers alluded to it moments before the accident: were there just too many cars in the race?

Jay Retread said...

This "sport" is all about the crashes. It is what fighting use to be to hockey. It is gladiatorial. They could get rid of most of the serious crashes but the hillbillies would abandon it in droves.

Jay Retread said...

It is a southern, Republican sport for a reason.

Joe said...

Jay, only classless, clueless people who don't like motor racing make that claim.

Jay Retread said...

I like motor racing. This ain't motor racing.

Dustin said...

I disagree with Jay that there's something inauthentic about this form of motorsport.

And it's not like we haven't lost great drivers on road courses, such as the greatest, Ayrton Senna.

Oval races are primarily designed so that a lot of people can see the race in person, but it also requires a degree of fine tuning that simply doesn't take place on road courses. Each team must push its setup farther to remain competitive.

It sure did look like the cars were too close together. Hopefully they look into the factors that caused the accident.

One thing I don't understand is the open cockpit, rather than a fighter jet style cockpit.

Dan said...

Actually, Jay, Indy car racing has very little to do with the south as they hold very few races in the South. It is more international than anything. they hold races in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Japan and maybe more. They also have a race in Balitmore, hardly the hotbed of the GOP.
So, please spare us your ignorant rant.

Tibore said...

Is Jay a Moby? Or is he genuinely an ignorant fucker? I vote both, because only a dumb jacknut would make NASCAR jokes about Indycar.

Tibore said...

"Let's make things a little bit safer guys, ok?"

While I sympathize with the notion, I'm hard pressed to see how. Wheldon's car spun and banked in the air so that it was flying backwards and presenting it's top side to the catch fence. I'd argue that just about any car that ends up hitting the even the catch fence at 200+ MPH and dragging it's topside along it would risk killing its driver, even a full on Cup car (if they'd ever actually be in a race going that fast). That'd tear the roof off if there was one.

Granted, at least there'd be a roof there to tear off. And it might have made a difference; I'm willing to admit that it's not a foregone conclusion. Plus, when the air intake and roll bar got torn off, all that was between Wheldon's head and the fence was his helmet, and that's not going to be sufficient to protect him at those speeds. But still, I'm not ready to say that an enclosed cockpit would've made a difference in this circumstance. It's possible, but it's not a given. Not the way he hit today.

Tibore said...

Dustin said...
I disagree with Jay that there's something inauthentic about this form of motorsport."


Totally. I find Indycar way more authentic than NASCAR. You don't get phantom yellows in Indycar, for example. Plus, they don't rob drivers of a season's worth of accomplishment by resetting everything at the end and calling it "The Chase" (talk about contrived!).

Anga2010 said...

Tibore said...

Ok, it's impossible to prevent the accident that happened today in today's rules, I agree. There are at least 100 things I can think of at just off the top of my head to make it safer for the drivers.
I love motorsport, I even am an avid fan. I hate to see my drivers killed and I think that there are some common-sense solutions to prevent just this sort of thing from happening. Look at what has been done in F1 to see how to keep drivers alive and mebee we can see come changes.

Dustin said...

You don't get phantom yellows in Indycar, for example. Plus, they don't rob drivers of a season's worth of accomplishment by resetting everything at the end and calling it "The Chase" (talk about contrived!).

Those are great points. For those who like it, I welcome them to knock themselves out, but it's like Nascar's rules force the drama on the event, as though the organizers have no faith it would show up on its own. They also place so much emphasis on personality, only they ramp it up to a point where it's very contrived.

I just want to see great teams figure out how to make cars go fast without breaking, and drivers drive well.

Nascar used to be that 15 years ago, in my opinion.

F1 has also become quite a mess. Indy car has come a long way in just the past couple of years, and I love prototype endurance races.

But the real change for the spectator is we can race plausibly good simulations now.

Dustin said...

"Look at what has been done in F1 to see how to keep drivers alive and mebee we can see come changes."

I suspect an F1 driver would have been in serious peril in that wreck.

Take them off the oval, and yeah, that changes things, but it also undermines the point of this form of motorsport. These aren't races with $1200 tickets for a very small audience who probably drove to the event in a car that could win its own races.

There's a car in a video game, Gran Turismo, called the X1. You can google "red bull x1" to see what I'm talking about.

I think a car like that would have offered more protection to the driver.

lewsar said...

Wheldon's car spun and banked in the air so that it was flying backwards and presenting it's top side to the catch fence. I'd argue that just about any car that ends up hitting the even the catch fence at 200+ MPH and dragging it's topside along it would risk killing its driver

220 mph is a speed that most general aviation aircraft cannot attain except in a steep dive. at that speed, it is possible to die in a crash no matter how many safety features are designed into the chassis.

should sanctioning bodies and track safety officials continue to search for ways to make racing safer? absolutely. will the sport ever get to the point were it is perfectly safe to race at these speeds? i doubt it.

RIP dan wheldon.

Dustin said...

From a few articles I've read about this, some drivers refused to race in this event because they find it too risky to have that quantity of open cockpit cars at that speed on the same track.

Some also note a wide disparity in equipment quality, but I doubt this was a factor.

"will the sport ever get to the point were it is perfectly safe to race at these speeds?"

While it can't be perfectly safe, maybe safer than this. It's easy to say that, but I do think there are a few ways to improve.

Curious George said...

It's sad, but it happens. And Dan Wheldon knew the risk.

In addition to the speeds, it's not just open cockpits that make Indy car racing dangerous. It's open wheel. Most of these cars get airborne when they touch wheels. The car in back climbs the car in fronts tire. Once you get air under these cars all bets are off.

Here is an example from the 2010 Indy. Mike Conway touches tires with Ryan Hunter Reay and up he goes into the catch fence. Hunter-Reay passes under his car...very lucky he didn't hit the wreckage, it would likely have been fatal.

2010 Indy Crash

Both are still racing Indy cars.

Jim said...

Some quotes from the past:

Mark Donohue: "There's always a way a car can get you."

Dan Gurney: "This cruel sport . . ."

Smokey Yunick: When these cars touch wheels, what happens next ain't got nothin' to do with racing."

Dustin said...

"It's open wheel."

That's a good point.

Open wheel cars are supposed to be very pure and light, but they are actually kinda silly.

A car moving at 220 miles per hour faces win resistance at 220 miles per hour, but the wheels are spinning the opposite direction on top, so they face a tremendously worse wind resistance of 440 miles per hour. A small housing covering the wheels would greatly improve the car stability and aerodynamics, and also provide a stable object in the event of an impact. Denting such a housing would still ruin the car, but it wouldn't fly through the air crazily. If the housing was flimsy enough to dent, but strong enough to hold together, the cautious open wheel style would be preserved.

Pit stops would be much more burdensome. Same goes for a full piece of lexan over the cockpit, which would be hassle to keep clean.

But that too would improve the aero and safety.

I also think in reverse direction, plenty of flaps should deploy, which at least reduces the tendency of cars to go up when their downforce is turns 180 degrees. This is a very common safety feature.

Curious George said...

@Dustin

Actually, Indy cars are designed to limit the wind forces on the tires. The mirrors and sidepods are designed to push air away from the rears. The end fences on the front wing and as wll as the wing itself does the same up front.

The problem with open wheels is not instability...it's touching tires, which lifts the car and eliminates all of these aero controls. Once air gets under the car, hang on and pray.

@tibore

Stock cars have full roll cages....the sheet metal may come off from contact with the catch cage, but that roll cage wil lstay intact.

Dustin said...

"Actually, Indy cars are designed to limit the wind forces on the tires. The mirrors and sidepods are designed to push air away from the rears. The end fences on the front wing and as wll as the wing itself does the same up front."

Only to a very limited extent. There is only so much they can do with that big sticky tire hanging out there in the breeze.

Obviously, yes, they do try to divert air. With a simple housing around the wheel, they wouldn't have to, which would mean a much better downforce:wind resistance ratio and a significantly more stable car.

I doubt my ideas have any chance of being used in IRL, though.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Sad. If people had a more precise notion of what girls find glamorous in males who take risks, I don't think these dreadfully dangerous sports would be so much excessively viewed as glamorous. There indeed is a sense girls are more attracted to a male who rolls for high stakes when it comes to mating--a male who in this way takes a great risk. A male who gears his appeal more towards the masses of females (and more especially to all the most special ones) than towards one or a few females he has the best chance of attracting, well, he takes the great risk of a life of barren loneliness, but that's the sort of male girls tend to want because (according to my theory) a girl mating (when young) will select for spermatozoa whose ancestral DNA especially succeeded in fertilizing girls as opposed to older females, and obviously that's more impressive when such DNA also has traits suggestive of it fertilizing many girls and great ones when it fertilized any. That's the sense girls are pleased by risk-taking males.

But girls aren't so much impressed by males who imprudently risk death, imprisonment, etc., in their efforts. Nay, it's a lot more impressive and suggestive of the DNA a girl wants to select for if a male can attract lots of great girls in comparatively safe ways that also involve girls' parents and society feeling comfortable about it. But I suppose girls are sufficiently sexually frustrated by the many indiscriminate sexual prohibitions that they have been surrounded with, that they don't tend to admit to being pleased by males with the latter safety-loving tendencies. Girls may prefer males naturally prudent about their own safety, but they tend to do so in a way that causes them often to prefer these males to not behave prudently. Girls being what they are, they largely just want to have fun, which ideally should be just fine, but this can cause problems when society forces girls to behave unnaturally by thwarting their natural tendencies with indiscriminate recklessness, notwithstanding the natural tendency of girls, being of all humans the most naturally innocent in their pleasures, is to be most pleased by virtuous males.