The Panic Button

Posted by Iannucci | 3/31/2006 | 0 comments »
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Mark Kreidler, who writes about open-wheel racing about as much as I write about Hockey, has penned a piece on condemning the IRL for racing the day of Paul Dana’s tragic death. Now, I mean no offense to the Dana’s family and friends, but not calling off the race because a driver dies in practice it pretty much nonsense.

Kreidler mentions throughout the piece he is an outsider, which means before Sunday he probably wouldn’t know Paul Dana from Bill Dana. What is most confounding is the whole “stop if someone dies” reason Kreidler uses. If a driver is killed mid-race, do you call the whole thing off then? Do you have everyone pull over if a fan is killed as in Charlotte a few years ago? Kreidler even suggests this was a “textbook exception,” but then goes on to name actual “textbook exceptions” like the JFK assassination and the 9/11 attacks. Clearly, he just wants to write a provocative piece without thinking it through.

Perhaps the most simple-minded thing Kreidler says is “having someone die after a sickening crash -- at the same track -- seems like the right place to make exactly that argument” for cancellation or postponement. He might want stop talking and start reading about the events of the 1973 Indianapolis 500. Tragic events have happened before, and clearer heads have thought these things through.

Unless the death was caused by a condition that would lead to more fatalities – and no, “high rate of speed” does not count – there is no valid reason to stop an entire race day. Conversely, if any driver would want to voluntarily pull out it would be completely understandable. Sure the sponsor would be upset, but no one wants a shaken-up driver out there competing.