Several IndyCar drivers in town for Dan Wheldon’s memorial service are lingering an extra day for a drivers’ meeting at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard called the voluntary meeting to discuss the crash which killed the two-time Indy 500 champion.
Driver Graham Rahal says he hopes the tragedy will give drivers more clout to bring about changes to make the sport safer.
“It’s sad to say, but up until this point, even things the drivers have said, it’s almost as if we don’t matter,” Rahal says. “Now I think that we’ve got a little more power, and I think as a drivers’ association, hopefully we can stand up and make the changes we all believe in.”
Driver Alex Lloyd says the crash which killed Wheldon was a “freak accident,” but says there still needs to be a discussion of changes.
“There was obviously a lot of talk about safety, things like that, at this kind of a racetrack, but we didn’t believe that something like this could happen — I certainly didn’t,” Lloyd says. “So I’m looking forward to really trying to push this foot forward as far as safety goes, and do whatever we need to do to make sure an incident like this doesn’t happen again.”
IndyCar was already set to debut one change next year: a car designed to reduce the chance of an airborne crash like the one which killed Wheldon. Wheldon test-drove the car and a prototype was onstage at his memorial.
Rahal has organized a celebrity auction which begins today to raise money for the trust fund set up for Wheldon’s widow and two young children.