IRL driver Paul Dana’s death causes many effects.
As many of you may know, Rahal Letterman Racing team‘s rookie Paul Dana passed away after a coalition with Ed Carpenter of Vision Racing on May 19th. Dana was married and just shy of turning 31 years-old. He died living his dream of racing Indy cars, but his death raised moral, business, and controversial questions.
The most common question being asked is “should the race of proceeded even though it was known that Dana was pronounced dead?” IRL president Brian Barnhart stated on ESPN radio that “this is how the sport operates. Drivers understand the risk they are taking every time they get into the car.” When asked, “What if it was Danica Patrick [the young women who quickly became one of, if not the most famous IRL driver today] who died, would the race go on?” He retorted that, “yes, the race would have gone on just the same.”
A business question I have is weather the sport will grow off of the publicity from this tragedy. I have been an IRL fan for a few years now, and I have never seen so many people’s attention turn so fast to this sport. In the business of advertising it is said that “any publicity is good publicity.” I feel that more people will be prone to turn on ESPN or ABC to watch an IRL race now because their interest and curiosity is sparked.
My personal thoughts on: Should the race of gone on?
I arrived at Homestead Speedway for the race two hours after the crash. All though every fan and participant was obviously saddened the atmosphere was one of race day. I did not even hear of a conflict of whether the race should go on until I listened to the news on the way home. I believe Dana’s teammates, Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice, and the rest of the Rahal Letterman Racing team’s decision to not racing was the proper and respectable thing to do. But if the other teams and drivers wanted to proceed, which they appeared to want to do, then they should be allowed to play their sport. I feel that Dana should be recognized at every race for the remainder of the season as he was at Homestead.
Lastly…my thoughts and prayers are with Dana and his family.
RIP Paul Dana
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