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Few safety concerns from drivers at TMS Indy race

Auto RacingOpen-Wheel RacingDan Wheldon

This is the 15th year for Indy car racing at Texas Motor Speedway, and fans aren't letting the death of a popular driver keep them away from the sport.

"Each tracks different it's totally separate depending on the length and whether or not it's a road course", said Jan Grannis.

There were concerns if the sport would continue at TMS following the death of Dan Wheldon. He was killed in October of last year on a track in Las Vegas similar to TMS.

The tracks are oval shaped with higher banks which make the cars go faster and can lead to pack racing. They’re better designed for NASCAR than Indy.

Veteran racer Davey Hamilton was seriously hurt in a crash at TMS, but says it was an accident and he's not blaming the design of the track.

"It can be safer I feel we're all working on it very, very hard. If you look back 20 years ago how much better it is today than it was 20 years ago. It leaps and bounds. I hope in another 20 years it will be where we can never get hurt", Hamilton said.

Current racer Ryan Hunter-Reay says the drivers know the risk when they get behind the wheel.

"With an exposed cockpit like that with our heads being exposed and going 220 mph it is dangerous. It always has been there's nothing new there", he said.

There was also concern about the fencing on the track at TMS. The support posts are inside the fence meshing as opposed to being on the outside. It's the same as the fencing in Las Vegas. Wheldon died after his head struck one of the posts.

"The engineers tell us that the order of materials make absolutely no difference to a race car traveling more than 200 mph. and so all the engineers say this is the safest technology provides us today", said TMS general manager Eddie Gossage.

While there have been injuries on the TMS track, there have been no deaths.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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