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Fatal Champ Car Accidents & Indy Car Crash Deaths

Auto racing drivers take their jobs seriously and unfortunately for these select drivers, nothing is more serious than death, as they experienced when fatal champ car accidents or Indy car crashes took their lives. Many of the fatal Indy car accidents at races that occured during the American Championship Car Racing since 1982 are listed here. The names of teams of the champ car and indy car drivers that crashed, as well as the date of the fatal accidents, are also included.

Though IndyCar racing, which is divided into three series, the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and the U.S. F2000, is sanctioned, concerns remain over the safety of the drivers in the open-wheel cars. As these deaths prove, that concern is absolutely reasonable.

Many of these deaths occurred before the 2000s when IndyCar racing safety came to a head. In 2003, Mario Andretti, Kenny Bräck and Tony Renna were involved in a series of high-profile accidents which led to extreme changes to safety measures. Speeds were reduced and even changes to the cars were made, leading to an overall safer experience for all.

Unfortunately even with the best measures and improvements, the deaths continued, including on March 26, 2006, when driver Paul Dana lost his life during a practice session for the 2006 Toyota Indy 300. Fortunately, the safety measures and technologies used in the cars continue to improve to this day. The same applies to other racing leagues, with the number of Formula1 fatal crashes and Formula2 fatal crashes, among other leagues, seeing a steady decrease as well.
  • Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    Team Penske driver; died September 11, 1999
    Gonzalo "Gonchi" Rodríguez Bongoll (January 22, 1971 – September 11, 1999), better known as Gonzalo Rodríguez, was an Uruguayan racing driver.  ...more
    • Age: Dec. at 28 (1971-1999)
    • Birthplace: Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Photo: flickr / CC0
    Fletcher Racing driver; died May 15, 1982
    Gordon Eugene Smiley (April 20, 1946 – May 15, 1982) was an American race car driver who was killed in a single-car crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was inducted into the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2000.  ...more
    • Age: Dec. at 36 (1946-1982)
    • Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska
  • Photo: flickr / CC0
    Forsythe Racing driver; died October 31, 1999
    Gregory William Moore (April 22, 1975 – October 31, 1999) was a Canadian race car driver who competed in the Indy Lights and Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) from 1993 to 1999. He began competitive karting at the age of ten and achieved early success, before progressing to open-wheel car racing in the Canadian Formula Ford Championship in 1991. Moore won the 1992 USAC FF2000 Western Division Championship and the 1995 Indy Lights Championship. He began competing in CART with Forsythe Racing in 1996, finishing ninth in the drivers' championship and was second to Alex Zanardi in the Rookie of the Year standings. The following year, Moore claimed the first two victories of his career to  ...more
    • Age: Dec. at 24 (1975-1999)
    • Birthplace: New Westminster, Canada
  • Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    Arciero-Wells Racing driver; died July 14, 1996
    Jeffrey John Krosnoff (September 24, 1964 – July 14, 1996) was an American race car driver. A competitor in the CART PPG Indy Car World Series, he was killed in a racing accident during the 1996 Molson Indy Toronto.  ...more
    • Age: Dec. at 31 (1964-1996)
    • Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma