Today the Rahal-Letterman Racing team suffered a serious blow when the #17 Ethanol car was in a pre-race warmup accident and driver and ethanol champion Paul Dana died from the injuries he suffered.
“It is a black day for us, and on behalf of Rahal Letterman Racing, our sponsors and associates, our prayers and sympathy go out to the entire Dana family,”
said team co-owner Bobby Rahal, the 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner.
“This is a great tragedy. As a result, and in honor of Paul, we will not run the team’s No. 15 (with driver Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indy 500 winner) and No. 16 (with driver Danica Patrick, the 2005 Indy 500 and IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year) cars in today’s event.”
“Paul was a very special guy,” said David Vander Griend, president and CEO of ICM, a primary sponsor on the Team Ethanol car. “He demonstrated his belief in what ethanol can do for all of America through his racing. He helped us with so many things in bringing ethanol to the IndyCar Series. He will be missed tremendously. Our thoughts are with his family today.”
Domestic Fuel sponsor and Ethanol Car sponsor, Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) has released a statement. You can read the full release from EPIC here (Word doc).
I also spoke with EPIC Executive Director, Tom Slunecka a few minutes ago. He is obviously still in shock over the tragedy after spending some time with Paul during the last couple days and being onsite when the accident occurred. On behalf of the EPIC staff, board and members, Tom offers his condolences to the Dana family, his friends and teammates. You can listen to Tom’s statement here: EPIC Statement (1 min MP3)