Video: Dan Wheldon's deadly Las Vegas crash

I missed the multi-camera replay from yesterday's horrific IndyCar race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where Dan Wheldon died. After watching it this morning I can't help but think just how lucky it was that only one driver lost their life.

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Small blessing sure, but a blessing nonetheless.

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DISCUSSION

BtheD19
BtheD19, Formula J treble World Champion

Dan was a great driver and all around great guy.

What needs to be understood about this, and about why Indycar specifically has a far higher injury and death rate, is because they race on ovals. That's why the European drivers flatly refuse to drive IRL, and I don't blame them one bit. Would you turn into a corner at 230mph with a concrete wall 50ft to your right? No way. Because if something happens, you are 100% guaranteed to hit it. I don't care how well you design the cars, how safe they are, or what kind of barrier you put in front of it, you're still transmitting a nearly unfathomable amount of force through the body.

The only way you can make Indycar safer is by changing the whole series. The best thing would be to eliminate ovals, but we all know they won't do that. So the next best thing is to do what NASCAR did and slow the cars down. As a racer and race fan, I hate that, but that's the only way you can lower the aforementioned crash forces, as well as limit the chances of cars taking off.

NASCAR isn't immune from this either. Despite the fact that they've had a very good run of safety lately, they came about four feet from killing a couple hundred people at Talladega a couple years ago. If that car had sailed into the stands, it would've made LeMans 1955 look minor.

The fact of the matter is, when you're running a pack of cars at 200mph+, there are certain angles that will send a car airborne. When that happens, no one can predict where it will go and what it will hit. Dan's death is a tragedy, but if there's anything to be thankful for, it's that no fans were killed either. How long can they keep dodging the bullet?