Speedway boss defends track

2011-10-19 09:08

Las Vegas Speedway president Chris Powell believes his track meets every IndyCar Series regulation and that he heard no concerns expressed by drivers before the death of British driver Dan Wheldon.

Wheldon was killed in a fiery 15-car crash on the 2.4km banked oval, a facility that had not hosted an IndyCar race in 11 years.

Powell said: "We provide the venue. The sanctioning body, whatever sanctioning body it is, comes in and governs its own competition. That was the case this weekend."

Drivers around globe have questioned the wisdom of having a 34-car field, the largest IndyCar line-up outside the Indianapolis 500 where drivers have weeks of practice, racing at speeds above 350km/h.


Defending US stock-car champion Jimmie Johnson said: "I wouldn't run them on ovals. There's just no need to. The ovals, when something happens, you just can't keep those cars on the ground.

"I hate that this tragedy took place but I hope they can learn from it and make those cars safer on ovals. I would just rather see them on street circuits and road courses. No more ovals," he said.

Several IndyCar racers said they expressed safety concerns about the Las Vegas track before the race.

Powell said: "When drivers have concerns, I think 99 percent of the time those concerns are expressed to the sanctioning body. If those concerns were expressed in this instance, certainly it was not to me."

Powell told ABC News that IndyCar was in charge of making sure conditions were proper to race at the facility.

"We as a speedway make sure we provide a venue that they come in and assess when they're ready to race, and they did that exact thing," Powell said. "We heard no qualms whatsoever from anyone at IndyCar that there were any concerns.

"Our speedway conforms to every regulation that any sanctioning body has ever held it to - we're very proud of that."