After covering the Bank of America 500 from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday night, I anticipated spending my Sunday afternoon ‘relaxing’ for a change, that was not the case.
As anticipated, I would flip on my local ABC network to catch the season finale of the IZOD IndyCar race from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, that would remain the same.
The first few laps of the race were ‘entertaining’ on some levels, as the cars went over the 200mph on 9 degrees of banking. 34 cars started the field Sunday, typically only 33 cars line the field for the Indianapolis 500 (which is run on a 2.5-mile track). Many drivers questioned the safety of the event just days before.
Dan Wheldon, 33, would not finish the race, as he fell victim to an explosive accident on lap-10.
Many fans hoped for the best but prepared for the worst, as no news broke until 2 hours after the accident.
This whole incident reminded me entirely of the Daytona 500 back in 2001. Granted, that tragic accident didn’t happen until the last lap on the last turn of the 500-mile race, but it still gave a little a sense of losing one of the sport’s greatest hero’s.
It’s a miserable feeling to just watch helplessly at the television screen knowing the fate of a driver is out of your control, but that is the feeling that everyone felt during both events.
It’s hard to be a fan of motorsports and not cast judgement on the decisions that were made, but that is reality. Humans have always cast judgement, as ‘hinds sight is always 20/20′.
Yes, I do think things could have gone differently, but that’s not my place. If for some reason there wasn’t a tragic accident at LVMS, would we have talked about the elements that were still in place for the ‘perfect’ storm? Honestly, I highly doubt it.
NASCAR took it upon themselves to correct the issue that killed Dale Earnhardt. Fortunately, NASCAR has not experienced another death in the top-three elite series, but then reality sinks in- That doesn’t mean something tragic will never happen.
The proof is there that NASCAR has made changes for the better- Jimmie Johnson was involved in a wreck Saturday night that looked just like Earnhardt’s in Daytona, but was able to walk away. We see these types of accidents ever-so-often, and once again we take things for granted. Something can go terribly wrong at any given time, which is why ‘we’ as motorsports enthusiasts took Sunday’s accident to heart.
If you could take anything positive from this situation, it is that this race was the end of the season for the IndyCar series, unlike the Daytona 500 where we had to go through the entire season with the ‘painful’ reminder of a fallen driver’s death.