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Johnson calls for end to ovals in IndyCar

Elsewhere in the NASCAR paddock, Kasey Kahne was even closer to the tragedy than most of his stock car colleagues. He'd been seriously considering taking up IndyCar's $5m prize challenge to race at Las Vegas on Sunday, until his future team boss Rick Hendrick vetoed the plans.

“I was absolutely thinking about doing it,” Kahne said. “Rick told me he didn't want me to do it, so then it was pretty much over at that point in time as far as doing the race.

"You can never think about if something like that would have happened or wouldn't have happened, you have no control over it," he said, refusing to play the 'what if?' game. "So I don't even think about that. Driving an IndyCar is something I've always wanted to do and definitely thought about doing for that race. It just didn't work out."

In NASCAR, Earnhardt Sr. was the last driver to die as the result of a racing accident. His son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., knew Dan Wheldon personally through shared appearances for their mutual sponsor, the US National Guard.

“He was a really great guy, a really nice person and very friendly ... He was just a real pleasure to be around. It's a tough deal," said Earnhardt. "I can't imagine how everybody, his family and everybody in that series is doing."

But Earnhardt, Johnson, Burton and Kahne did what true motor racing drivers always do at moments of extremis: minutes after sharing their thoughts with the press, they were back in their cars and heading out on track for more test laps.

Just like Dan Wheldon would have done.




Related Pictures

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Jimmie Johnson in the garage area. [Photo credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Elliott takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon.  (Photo by Ashley R Dickerson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, races to a fourth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, races to his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career win with a victory lap and checkered flag, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory with a wave of the chequered flag Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, celebrates after taking the chequered flag during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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ZeR0 Kun

October 18, 2011 5:21 PM

@ Mike he just gives his view and insight from a racer's eyes. he has a family and kids just like Dan... he simply did not want the same fate to happen to his fellow racers whoever it might be, let it be in indycars or nascars.

RawDawg

October 18, 2011 11:57 PM

@BoufieWolf Let me interrupt your rant while you are looking down your nose at us death trap racing Yanks who give a toss about safety for a second. It's wasn't the lack of safety or structual integrity in the cars that was the root cause of Wheldon's death. As in the same way of the Greg Moore accident, it was the angle at which the car crash - it hit cockpit first which is essentially head first. Be it an F1 car or open top sportscar or any form of open cockpit racer no matter how many FIA stickers it has on it, going cockpit first at over 220 mph into anything unfortunetly has a very high probability of a bad result. Don't come on here preaching about the safety of IndyCars like it's some death race series that has fatalities all the time. All the other drivers in that horrid crash are ok. There are crashes on road courses and ovals all the time in IndyCar. There has been no complaints about the structual integrity of the cars or evidence that they aren't fit to protect drivers



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