IndyCar: Crews, Equipment Failed In Botched Rescue

An investigation into the 39-second rescue of IndyCar rookie Simona De Silvestro following a crash and subsequent fire at Texas Motor Speedway found the safety crew's actions and equipment at fault. The root problem? Complacence.

While familiarity breeds contempt, it also breeds an inability to react properly to a dangerous situation. IndyCar investigators looking into rookie Simona De Silvestro's fiery crash early this month at the Texas Motor Speedway cited the rarity of fires of this kind as the primary reason for De Silvestro's slow rescue. The last time a fire this severe happened was in 2005, when Ryan Briscoe crashed at Chicagoland Speedway. Safety crews are used to seeing oil fires that die down quickly rather than intensify; as a result, TMS's crew didn't act appropriately following De Silvestro's crash. Here's a reminder of just what happened:

If the crew had been operatingby to the book, the first man on the scene would have grabbed a portable fire extinguisher and immediately tried to put down the flames. The rest of the crew should have gotten the fire hose going. Instead, the first guy fumbled with the fire hose, along with everyone else, and then waited around while a kink caused by a badly designed connection was worked out. The crewman who did dive in to help the driver out of the car couldn't work properly due to the flames, and he fumbled with the wheel and neck restraint. The fire was then extinguished by a second team who followed proper procedure.

Eventually, De Silvestro was extricated with only a burn to her finger, but she shouldn't have been injured at all. The Indy Racing League isn't taking any disciplinary action against the fire crew, but they will be refreshing all safety crews on procedure. The IRL has also reworked the hose connections on trucks for this weekend's race at Iowa Speedway. All things considered, it's the least they can do. [AutoWeek]