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.
Team Penske driver; died September 11, 1999
Gonzalo "Gonchi" Rodríguez Bognoli was a racing driver. He showed promise in Formula 3000 for three seasons, taking two wins in 1998 at Spa-Francorchamps and Nürburgring, winning the following season in Monaco and finishing third in both championships. Following a rotation of drivers as team mates to Al Unser Jr. in CART Penske Racing's second car, he was given his opportunity at the Detroit Grand Prix in 1999 and scored a point in his only race. At the Laguna Seca Raceway raceway during the practice session for his second CART race, he was fatally injured in a crash. A stuck open throttle caused his car to overshoot the braking point, going off the track at more than 140 mph and slammed ...more on Wikipedia
Age: Died at 28 (1971-1999)
Birthplace: Montevideo, Uruguaysee more on Gonzalo Rodríguez
Fletcher Racing driver; died May 15, 1982
Gordon Eugene Smiley was an American race car driver from Omaha, Nebraska 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 on Wikipedia
Age: Died at 36 (1946-1982)
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States of Americasee more on Gordon Smiley
Forsythe Racing driver; died October 31, 1999
Gregory William Moore was a Canadian racecar driver who competed in the Indy Lights and CART World Series, where he had great success with several wins in both series and a championship in the 1995 Indy Lights series. He was fatally injured in a violent crash on the tenth lap of the CART season finale, the Marlboro 500, at the California Speedway in Fontana, California. ...more on Wikipedia
Age: Died at 24 (1975-1999)
Birthplace: New Westminster, Canadasee more on Greg Moore
Arciero-Wells Racing driver; died July 14, 1996
Jeffrey John Krosnoff 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 on Wikipedia
Age: Died at 32 (1964-1996)
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States of Americasee more on Jeff Krosnoff