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Dan Wheldon Crash Video: Why Reducing the Drivers in Field Is Best Solution

Eric Ball@@BigLeagueEballFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2011

Unfortunately in life, sometimes it takes a tragedy to create change.

In the aftermath of Dan Wheldon’s tragic death on Sunday, IndyCar and Las Vegas Speedway have to make a decision to fix something about the race.

A lot of the drivers expressed concern at the amount of drivers on the small course. Here is International Business Times with the details of why 34 cars on this specific track are way too much:

The Las Vegas Speedway is a mile shorter than the Indianapolis 500 track, meaning that drivers are turning for almost the entire race. The course is also rather narrow, meaning that the drivers were riding three and four abreast. On Sunday, there were 34 cars racing, which was more than were racing at this year's Indy 500, which Wheldon won.

When you’re turning constantly next to three others cars, the smallest error can cause a huge wreck. 15 drivers were involved in the crash and a life was lost because of it.

Looking at the video in slow-mo, Wheldon was launched into the air by another car and was essentially unable to do anything at that point. With all of the oncoming traffic unable to stop, Wheldon was drilled by multiple other cars once his car returned to the track.

It just doesn’t make sense why they have the same amount of cars on the track for a NASCAR race when the average speed is 190 miles per hour...in Formula 1-style cars can reach 230. Considering how much less protection the drivers in Indy have and how much faster they drive—the field has to be shortened significantly.

Nothing is wrong with the oval; it’s the traffic on the track. Cut the field by 5-10 drivers and allow racers more room to make an error. With the competitive juices on overload, drivers will do anything to win. Being aggressive is part of their DNA.

You can’t change that part about the sport, but you can minimize the risk and after a day like Sunday...it has to be done.

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