Kanaan: Drivers must push for safety - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Kanaan: Drivers must push for safety

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IndyCar is unveiling a new car in 2012. IndyCar is unveiling a new car in 2012.
Drivers including Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Davey Hamilton attended the meeting. Drivers including Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Davey Hamilton attended the meeting.

INDIANAPOLIS - IndyCar drivers and league officials met privately for three hours Monday to discuss safety.

Most drivers left the meeting in a hurry and the few that did talk to the media weren't discussing details. But they sounded as if they left feeling better than when they arrived, saying everyone is on the same page, moving in the same direction.

The meeting was held a day after a weekend spent remembering friend and fellow driver Dan Wheldon, who was killed in a crash in Las Vegas last Sunday.

"How we react to this is critical. I am very encouraged by what I saw today," said Dario Franchitti.

Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Davey Hamilton called the meeting positive and productive with no finger pointing as to who is to blame for perhaps the biggest wreck in IndyCar racing.

"It is not to throw down on anybody, it is not to disagree," Hamilton said.

"Finger pointing is not going to do any good here at all. We are all unified about going forward," said Franchitti.

IndyCar is going forward next season with a completely new race car. Wheldon was doing most of the testing and other drivers who have had their chance behind the wheel are already praising the manufacturer.

Drivers insist there are even more ways to improve safety and keep fans excited.

"We have to take this to the next level and be the leader and cutting edge of safety and I think IndyCar is up for that," Hamilton said. "The new car, Dallara is doing extra to make sure it's safe."

But in reality, how safe is safe with dozens of cars going in circles in traffic at 220 miles an hour?

"Hopefully we will make it better. But we will never be 100 percent safe," Kanaan said. "How can we work with IndyCar and the drivers to make racing a little big less dangerous. It's going to be dangerous. It's always been, it always will be."

"But we are doing everything we can to make it be," Franchitti said.

Motor sports attract millions of fans, precisely because it's dangerous - even death-defying.

"You are seeking a sport based on excitement and excitement is the result of danger," said Michael Crawford.

Crawford spent 19 years in the motor sports industry and now teaches at Marian University. He says while making the sport safer, league officials and drivers walk a fine line with fans.

"They want fans to leave thrilled, that it was an amazing event. It was terrifying, but that no one got hurt," Crawford said.

The drivers who were willing to speak say this is just the first step, there will be more meetings. Lives are at stake, as well as the health of IndyCar racing as a sport.

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