Las Vegas Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith has said that despite the horrendous crash that cut short the race and the life of Dan Wheldon, he expects IndyCar to honour its contract with the circuit, which runs through 2013.
Prior to the race, the weekend was a celebration of all that is great and becoming greater about American open-wheel racing, so much so that IndyCar announced a two-year extension to its contract to utilise the speedway for the season finale in each of those two years.
Then, on Lap 12, disaster reared its ugly head and turned the entire sport on its head.
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has said that he wants to wait until the findings from the investigation into the disastrous season-ending accident are brought to light before a decision on whether IndyCar not only returns to Vegas, but whether Texas Motor Speedway, one of the most popular venues on the calendar, also sees open-wheel action in 2012.
Smith has been critical of IndyCar’s reaction to the tragedy, saying Randy Bernard is being led in different directions by too many people.
“I like Randy a lot, but he listens to too many people. He’s listening to people who don’t know a damn thing about speedways and there’s no reason in the world he should not be back at Las Vegas and Texas next year,” Smith said.
Since the accident on October 16, numerous critics have said IndyCar has no place on the high- banked ovals, calling for the series to abandon the tracks. A combination of driver experience, larger than normal field sizes and the ability of the cars to run flat-out the entire way around have been heralded as causes to the accident.
Not long after the accident, former FIA President Max Mosley echoed the calls of many and implored IndyCar not to jump to any “knee-jerk” reactions. Racing legend Mario Andretti labelled the accident as “a fluke, freakish accident”, and one that the new car set to debut next year will take care of by preventing wheel-to-wheel contact.
Smith believes IndyCar should continue to visit Texas, host to at least one IndyCar race each season since 1997.
"There’s never been a problem at Texas. Never, ever, ever. I have no idea why all of a sudden Texas would be considered not suitable for IndyCar,” Smith said.
[Image via Destination 360]