Dan Wheldon Crash Video: IRL Will Learn from Tragedy and Come Back Safer

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2011

TORONTO, ON - JULY 11:  Dan Wheldon, driver of the #4 National Guard Panther Racing Dallara Honda in pit lane during qualifying for the Indycar Series Honda Indy Toronto on July 11, 2009 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The tragic death of Dan Wheldon will result in the league he competed in returning next year far safer than it was this year. The IRL allowed too many dangerous factors to come into play in this last race; with the guilt and heat resonating from this last race they will make necessary changes.


Dangerous Conditions of the Crash

There were two key factors that made this race so dangerous. The first is that the cars were able to race this track wide open.

The high banked turns meant that drivers didn't have to take the petal off the metal. This resulted in the drivers being tightly bunched and with little separation.

The second is the field size. 34 cars is too many for a 1.5-mile oval. This also added to big groups of tightly bunched fields. It can also fill drivers with a sense of desperation and make for reckless moves.

Expected Changes 

The IRL had already planned on debuting the car of the future next season. This car is going to feature sweeping safety improvements. Anything and everything they can do to make this style of car safe will be done.

I would be surprised if they ever raced on a 1.5 mile oval with a car going 220 miles per hour. The cars will either be fitted with some kind of restrictor plate like in NASCAR, or those tracks will be eliminated.

The final one is the easiest. They will limit field sizes. Races on a 1.5 mile oval will feature 25-27 cars instead of 30-plus.