Warning: There are two videos below that show the death of drivers. They are included for context, and are NOT set on autoplay.
With all the talk of Alonso versus Ed Jones for Rookie Of The Year, and a certain twitter post from a former Denver Post; let’s take a minute to fully appreciate something that happened over the past two weeks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Two horrific crashes, and nobody died.
Sebastien Bourdais survived a horrific crash that brought back memories of the crash that took the life of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt has he was trying to qualify for the race (which leads to an upcoming story about James Davison and the amazing race he had).
Bourdais would like to see more improvements made, but he gave one major acknowledgement to the media prior to the Indianapolis 500. “ any injuries on my feet or anything like that. But if we could avoid pelvis and hip fractures like that, that would be great. But I don’t think there a lot of people who can say they have survived a head-on crash at 227. I don’t know that everybody knows, but I was still full throttle when I hit the wall. It’s a pretty good testament.”
Then there was the crash Scott Dixon was involved in where he went airborne into the catch fence (there was the exit of a tunnel walkway on the other side of it) and also bounced around on track.
In the aftermath of both accidents, Bourdais had multiple pelvic fractures, and a fractured hip. Dixon walked away with merely a sore ankle.
Let’s pause for a second and let that sink in. Then let’s take another to appreciate the safety improvements that were made in the DW12.
After the crash, which red flagged the race for nearly 30 minutes, Dixon spoke to ABC’s Dr. Jerry Punch, “It’s tough. I was hoping Jay would stay against the wall. I’d already picked that way to go and there was nowhere else to go. I’m glad he’s OK too. You believe in the safety progress of these cars.”
Many people have criticized the look of the DW12, but you can’t argue the impact it’s had on the safety in IndyCar. There was one death in the lifetime of the DW12, Justin Wilson.
The video below isn’t graphic, but it does show the death of a driver.
Wilson’s death was not a result of a design flaw in the car, it was a freak accident. Debris from Sage Karem’s car that went flying after an accident stuck Wilson. The only thing that could have really prevented that is a closed cockpit.
The fifth generation Dallara will be used in the 2018 IndyCar season, and reaction is mixed on how it looks from a fan perspective. However, if it continues on the progress made in the DW12 in regards to safety, the drivers will have a safe car.