The Paul Dana Fund For Renewable Energy has been set up to honor the memory of the Team Ethanol Indy Car driver who was fatally injured last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. According to Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC), the Dana family has asked that all donations be sent to the Fund in care of the National Bank of Indianapolis, 107 N. Pennsylvania St., Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN, 46204. A memorial service to celebrate Paul Dana’s life will be held Thursday at 5:15 p.m. in Mahaffey Theatre – inside the race course of the Honda Grand Prix in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR) team has withdrawn the No. 17 Team Ethanol Honda Panoz Firestone entry for this weekend’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg out of respect for Dana and his family. Team co-owner Bobby Rahal said they hope to name a replacement driver for the No. 17 car in the near future. Dana’s RLR teammates Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick will compete in this weekend’s St. Petersburg street event.
Rice and Patrick made their first public comments today about the tragedy. Rice, who won the 2004 Indianapolis 500, said it is never easy when you lose someone in the racing community. “It is very difficult for a close-knit group like the IndyCar Series. I got to know Paul through our testing and he was a good guy. He did a great job in developing the Team Ethanol program. He was learning about our cars and team. Our team will work through this loss and move on.”
Patrick, who was named Rookie of the Year last year, commented on her feelings about Paul’s death and the risks of high speed racing. “I believe Paul is in a better place. But this is a tragedy. We have the greatest safety equipment in the world and still this sport is and can be dangerous. We know that.”
“Late Night” talk show host David Letterman, the other half of the RLR ownership team, offered his condolences to the Dana family during his show last night. AP reports that Letterman saluted Dana, whose picture appeared on the screen, shortly before a commercial on his show Monday. He said the racing world was thinking about the young driver’s family.