Following is a Q & A with IRL President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Barnhart about the events surrounding the Toyota Indy 300 and Paul Dana's fatal accident. Q. Was it a tough decision to move ahead and race yesterday? BRIAN BARNHART: It...
Following is a Q & A with IRL President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Barnhart about the events surrounding the Toyota Indy 300 and Paul Dana's fatal accident.
Q. Was it a tough decision to move ahead and race yesterday?
BRIAN BARNHART: It was a tough day yesterday in a lot respects, including the decision to move forward. We, the league, had discussions with ISC (International Speedway Corp.) and everyone at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Curtis Gray, the president of the race track, and we were all in agreement that the race should go on as scheduled. After the drivers' meeting and talking with all of the participants, we felt it was the best decision to move forward. We were in agreement with the teams and participants. Looking back on it, I think it was the right decision.
Q. Will there be a review process of Paul Dana's accident? What does it entail?
BRIAN BARNHART: There is a review process of every accident we have. We have a team that reviews every accident, whether there is an injury or not. The review process involves examination of video of the incident. It involves examination of any skid marks on the track. It involves examination of the car or cars on the track. It involves examination of the equipment in the accident and it involves examination of the electronic information in regards to telemetry and accident boxes. The review process is an on-going process, and we continue our review.
Q. What is your reaction to fans' displeasure about Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice not participating in the event yesterday?
BRIAN BARNHART: I understand people want to see Buddy and Danica, but I would hope they have enough respect for Bobby Rahal and his race team. It's not a league decision, but I understand that Buddy and Danica are two of our most popular drivers. I'm sure people want to see them, but they need to have respect for the race team due to the circumstances that happened Sunday morning.
Q. Do you expect a full field at St. Petersburg?
BRIAN BARNHART: That's a tough question, because I don't know what Vision's plans are for the No. 20 car. Rahal Letterman Racing has already withdrawn the 17 car, but I know we'll be as full as we can be based on the availability of equipment. But I don't know what everyone's plans are. If Danica and Buddy run, which Bobby Rahal told me they would, then we'll have 18, and I consider that a full field.