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Career-ending and severe crashes


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#1 Mig007

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 13:56

As there are many posts and questions about deadly accidents in Motorsport, I would like to start a post in order to list the accidents that caused the end of the career of the rider (Like Brack's one in 2003) or near ended that (Mears in 1984, I think).

I remembered that because I've read Pancho Carter suffered once a big crash and he never was much able at road races after that.

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#2 Amphicar

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 14:27

Two obvious ones that spring to mind are Graham Hill's crash at Watkins Glen in October 1969, in which he broke both legs and Alex Zanardi at Lausitzring in September 2001, where he lost both legs. Although they weren't career ending in that both drivers recovered sufficiently to take part in competition, Hill was no longer a front-runner in F1 and although Zanardi returning to any form of motor racing was magnificent and inspiring, his open wheeler racing days were over.

#3 The Oracle

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 14:39

The two that I remember would be Pironi Hockenheim 1982 and Laffite Brands Hatch 1986(?)

#4 The Oracle

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 14:41

And then there's Barry Sheene.

#5 S A Dunbar

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 14:53

As there are many posts and questions about deadly accidents in Motorsport, I would like to start a post in order to list the accidents that caused the end of the career of the rider (Like Brack's one in 2003) or near ended that (Mears in 1984, I think).

I remembered that because I've read Pancho Carter suffered once a big crash and he never was much able at road races after that.



My good friend Stan Fox at Indy in 1995.


Sadly, since deceased...

Edited by S A Dunbar, 26 January 2011 - 14:53.


#6 jimjimjeroo

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 15:03

Burtis Belgian GP crash ended his f1 career did it not?

#7 The Oracle

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 15:49

Competitivley yes but he later returned as a Ferrari test driver.

Would one suggest that Ceverts fatal accident ended Jackie Stewarts career - I know he was due to retire anyway but believe it was suppose to be after the race at Watkins Glen or am I going a bit mad here?

#8 kayemod

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 16:21

Two obvious ones that spring to mind are Graham Hill's crash at Watkins Glen in October 1969, in which he broke both legs and Alex Zanardi at Lausitzring in September 2001, where he lost both legs.


Olivier Panis suffered severe leg injuries in his 1997 Montreal crash, not that dissimilar to Graham Hill's, and neither had much success afterwards. After suffering lower leg injuries, most fit people regain more or less full strength and movement, Mark Webber, Michael Schumacher and many others, but severe upper leg fractures are very different, very hard to make a 100% recovery from, and of course that was what killed poor Ronnie Peterson, complications are much more likely.

#9 alansart

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 16:36

How Martin Donnelly survived that crash in Portugal is amazing.

#10 Formula Once

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 16:36

Just a few that spring to mind...

JJ Letho, testing 1994
Stephen South, CanAm 1980
Francois Hesnault, testing 1985
Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Montreal 1980
Phillipe Streiff, testing 1989
Karl Wendlinger, Monaco 1994
Stirling Moss, Goodwood 1962
Martin Donnelly, Jerez 1990

#11 Formula Once

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 16:49

And some more...

Guerra, Imola 1981 (in terms of F1)
Boutsen, Le Mans 1999 (although he was to retire anyway)
Regazzoni, Long Beach 1980
Mairesse, Le Mans 1968
Marko, Clermont Ferrand 1972
Roelof Wunderink, Zandvoort, 1975
Howden Ganley, Nürburgring 1974
Andrea de Adamich, Silverstone 1973
Mike Hailwood, Nürburging 1974 (in terms of cars)
Chris Irwin, Nürburgring 1968


#12 pete53

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 16:54

Jack Sears had a monumental shunt whilst testing a Lotus 40 at Silverstone (early 66 ?). This played a major part in him deciding to call it day.

#13 Formula Once

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 17:02

Ian Ashley, Mosport 1977
Johnny Cecotto, Brands Hatch 1984 (in terms of F1)
David Piper, Le Mans (film) 1970 (after which he bravely returned to historic racing of course)
Marc Surer, Hessen (rally) 1986

And in non racing related accidents:

Johnny Servoz-Gavin
Jason Watt
Alessandro Nannini

#14 Les

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 17:05

Here's a couple of nearly career ending crashes not yet mentioned. In both cases the drivers returned to competition, one not the same and in the other case it debatable whether he will ever reach the heights he once did. They are -
David Purley - Silverstone 77 and Felipe Massa, Hungaroring 09.

Of course Schumacher and Hakkinen had a pretty horrific crashes each to contend with but both came back after lay-offs stronger than ever.

Edited by Les, 26 January 2011 - 17:48.


#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 17:06

This topic has been discussed at length before...

Somewhere there is an identical thread.

#16 Amphicar

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 17:14

Nigel Mansell had a couple of huge crashes early on in his racing career. In 1977 he was British Formula Ford champion, despite breaking his neck in a crash at Brands Hatch. The doctors told him that he would be confined to bed for six months and would never drive again. Mansell discharged himself from hospital and returned to racing.

In 1979 in F3 he collided with Andrea de Cesaris, his car rolled and he ended up in hospital with broken vertebrae. However he had been noticed by Colin Chapman, who gave him an F1 test, where rattling with painkillers, Mansell performed well enough to become the Lotus test driver. We all know the rest.

A broken neck and a broken back would be enough to end most careers!


#17 Amphicar

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 17:23

Here's a couple of nearly career ending crashes not yet mentioned. In both cases the drivers returned to competition, one not the same and in the other case it debatable whether he will ever reach the heights he once did. They are -
David Purley - Silverstone 77 and Felipe Massa, Hungaroring 09.

Of course Schumacher and Hakkinen had a pretty horrific crash each to contend with but both came back after lay-offs stronger than ever.

Niki Lauda's achievement in winning two world championships after his horrific 1976 crash on the Nordschleife was pretty special.

#18 scheivlak

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 18:09

Two obvious ones that spring to mind are Graham Hill's crash at Watkins Glen in October 1969, in which he broke both legs and Alex Zanardi at Lausitzring in September 2001, where he lost both legs. Although they weren't career ending in that both drivers recovered sufficiently to take part in competition, Hill was no longer a front-runner in F1

Well, Graham still won a F1 event one and a half year later.

#19 RStock

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 18:16

Mike Parkes after his shunt at Spa.

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#20 sbrinley

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 18:26

Just a few that spring to mind...

JJ Letho, testing 1994
Stephen South, CanAm 1980
Francois Hesnault, testing 1985
Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Montreal 1980
Phillipe Streiff, testing 1989
Karl Wendlinger, Monaco 1994
Stirling Moss, Goodwood 1962
Martin Donnelly, Jerez 1990


Does anyone know what really caused Moss' Goodwood accident? I have never read an account that seemed to make sense. Moss was one of those drivers that just never seemed to have accidents, until the one at Spa in 1960. That one, I have read, was caused by his Lotus' rear suspension coming adrift at high speed, not his driving.

#21 Tim Murray

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 19:07

There's an interesting theory about the crash from Karl Ludvigsen ('karlcars') in this earlier thread:

23 April 1962 Moss crash at Goodwood

and more discussion in the Favourite Moss stories thread, starting at this post:

http://forums.autosp...w...st&p=701692

#22 Mal9444

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 19:20

Does anyone know what really caused Moss' Goodwood accident? I have never read an account that seemed to make sense. Moss was one of those drivers that just never seemed to have accidents, until the one at Spa in 1960. That one, I have read, was caused by his Lotus' rear suspension coming adrift at high speed, not his driving.

The how is straightforward, the why less so.

As to how: he was well behind in the race having had mechanical problems and then got going again. Although with no real chance of getting back into the lead he was, typically, driving very quickly, not least to get fastest lap. He came up behind Graham Hill on the section between Fordwater (a right-hander) and St Mary's (left-hander) where the track goes slightly downhil and round a right-hand bend that has no name. He moved to the left to pass Hill on the outside of the approach to that bend, Hill moved across to his left, blocking Moss from overtaking and forcing Moss on to the grass. Moss then careered across the grass and uneven ground and went head-on into the solid earth bank.

As to why: entire chapters of books have been written about why - but none has ever explained fully why Moss attempted the manoeuvre, or why Hill moved across. A friend of mine, who was there (as a schoolboy) with his uncle and who saw the crash said that once he re-started Moss was driving so fast that an accident seemed inevitable and that he (a big Moss fan) and that Moss simply attempted something that was never going to come off. It seems generally agreed that the car bounced hard over a drainage ditch in the grass just as it
came off the roadway and this in turn bounced Moss partly out of his seat and in particular dislodged his feet from the pedals such that he was unable to spin the car and thus hit the bank going backwards, which migfht have mitigated the terrible consequences iof the head-on impact. But even that is conjecture.

There are many other theories, ranging from Hill deliberately and cold-bloodedly running Moss off the road to Moss mistaking a signal from Hill to a marshall as a signal from Hill to himself that he could overtake. This is Moss's own theory.

Edited by Mal9444, 26 January 2011 - 19:31.


#23 E1pix

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 19:23

My good friend Stan Fox at Indy in 1995.

Sadly, since deceased...


I'm with you on this, I knew Stan fairly well through his Hemelgarn connections. He also showed up on one of my wife's plane flights one day and regaled her much of the flight. My cousin raced midgets against him, too, what a guy Stan was.

To live through that crash at Indy.... and then die in a road car, out of country, no less.... a blessing turned into less of one. Sad.


#24 E1pix

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 19:26

Buddy Lazier's recovery from a 99g+ hit and eggshell-fractured back to win Indy several weeks later is worth noting.


#25 Andrew Hope

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 19:28

Wouter van Eujwik - flipped at the Nurbrugring in 1999 and the roll bar collapsed. Now I believe, paralyzed and presumably not doing much racing anymore.

On youtube (not graphic, but naturally a bit sad) -

An interesting note - Pedro Diniz crashed in the same way at the same corner within a month or so of this accident, his roll bar also failed. No serious injuries.

On youtube -

#26 Marticelli

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 19:42

A broken neck and a broken back would be enough to end most careers!

I heard he never looked back afterwards..!

Marticelli


#27 ralt12

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 03:15

Jeremy Dale's shunt at Road Atlanta with Fabrizio Barbazza. I raced Formula Ford with Jeremy and followed his career closely, and I was watching this race live. I have to say I thought he was a goner at that point, Barbazza came out of nowhere.

#28 E1pix

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 03:28

Jeremy Dale's shunt at Road Atlanta with Fabrizio Barbazza. I raced Formula Ford with Jeremy and followed his career closely, and I was watching this race live. I have to say I thought he was a goner at that point, Barbazza came out of nowhere.


That was bad.... I also was watching it live and was involved with Brix Racing, the car wore my livery.

I was 100% convinced there was no way he was still alive.... violent! I was sick. I don't think Fabrizio ever raced again either, but Jeremy's alive and well in Colorado.

A worthy mention.... you may know, team owner Harry Brix died a couple years ago. He was one of the finest clients and friends I've ever had, a sweetheart of a guy and a brilliant businessman.




#29 brucemoxon

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 04:57

Paul Radisich, Bathurst 2008.



Not sure which of the three hits was the bad one. Paul was coming back having had leg injuries the year before in the same race.



Paul's a really nice guy and to have two big hits like this was NOT what he deserved.

The first one was was because he was run wide by another car (driven by my good friend Nathan Pretty) and the second by a stuck throttle.



Bruce Moxon

#30 gtsmunro

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 07:17

Rally driver John Keran effectively had his career ended in a bad accident at Bathurst in 1970.

#31 Henri Greuter

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 08:14

Emerson Fittipaldi at Michigan, August 1996 (the Marlboro 500) is another one.
Saw that one happen in front of me, fortunately from a big distance...

Henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 27 January 2011 - 08:15.


#32 Bauble

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:49

A bit reluctant to join this thread, somewhat macabre, but my boyhood hero Brian Shawe-Taylor broke his neck in 1951, and retired from racing, "when a chap breaks his neck, maybe it is time to stop".
Peter Scott-Russel also quit after "getting out to walk ... at 120 mph" when he engine seized an the Hangar Straight in his Lotus Bristol.

#33 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:56

German Formula Junior driver Hans-August Stausberg, often racing under the alias Jupp Schmitz, had an accident at the 1962 Eifelrennen which ended his career. It was caused by a failure of the steering mechanism.

#34 byrkus

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 15:37

There were four drivers, who won races for Ligier - Laffite, Depailler, Pironi and Panis. All of them French - and all of them later involved in a heavy crash, in which they broke their both legs, and effectively stopped (or virtually destroyed) their racing careers!

I also know that Depailler was injured in a paragliding accident rather than in race, but still. It's chilling, to say the least.


#35 sbrinley

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 16:39

The how is straightforward, the why less so.

As to how: he was well behind in the race having had mechanical problems and then got going again. Although with no real chance of getting back into the lead he was, typically, driving very quickly, not least to get fastest lap. He came up behind Graham Hill on the section between Fordwater (a right-hander) and St Mary's (left-hander) where the track goes slightly downhil and round a right-hand bend that has no name. He moved to the left to pass Hill on the outside of the approach to that bend, Hill moved across to his left, blocking Moss from overtaking and forcing Moss on to the grass. Moss then careered across the grass and uneven ground and went head-on into the solid earth bank.

As to why: entire chapters of books have been written about why - but none has ever explained fully why Moss attempted the manoeuvre, or why Hill moved across. A friend of mine, who was there (as a schoolboy) with his uncle and who saw the crash said that once he re-started Moss was driving so fast that an accident seemed inevitable and that he (a big Moss fan) and that Moss simply attempted something that was never going to come off. It seems generally agreed that the car bounced hard over a drainage ditch in the grass just as it
came off the roadway and this in turn bounced Moss partly out of his seat and in particular dislodged his feet from the pedals such that he was unable to spin the car and thus hit the bank going backwards, which migfht have mitigated the terrible consequences iof the head-on impact. But even that is conjecture.

There are many other theories, ranging from Hill deliberately and cold-bloodedly running Moss off the road to Moss mistaking a signal from Hill to a marshall as a signal from Hill to himself that he could overtake. This is Moss's own theory.


Your explanation and the piece from Jenkinson's The Racing Driver in the karlcars post make sense as to what happened. The one thing I have not understood is the "why." The Easter Goodwood race was usually a warm-up for the start of the European Grand Prix season; but, nothing was at stake. I was, however, quite pleased at Hill winning the championship that year over the Lotus team.

#36 MCS

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 16:47

This topic has been discussed at length before...

Somewhere there is an identical thread.


And too many more like it.


#37 Rob

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 17:09

Emerson Fittipaldi at Michigan, August 1996 (the Marlboro 500) is another one.
Saw that one happen in front of me, fortunately from a big distance...


A few big accidents that year. Blundell's crash at Rio also comes to mind.

#38 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 17:16

Post 36 , that's the spirit of TNF.

#39 Mig007

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 22:47

Did Chip Ganassi also suffered an accident that led him to retire? I have the idea of reading it somewhere but it wasn't mentioned at the interview done by MotorSport earlier this year.

Edited by Mig007, 27 October 2011 - 22:47.


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#40 LittleChris

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 23:25

1984 at Michigan I think. Got tangled up with Al Unser Jr coming off turn 2 and both went into the infield wall. Probably on You tube somewhere


Edit: Here you go


Edited by LittleChris, 27 October 2011 - 23:28.


#41 RStock

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 23:49

Ganassi did compete in a few races after that crash.

#42 Mig007

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 10:46

Thanks! Yes, I think Ganassi retired in 1985 or 1986, but the things were never the same again after the crash.

#43 chdphd

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 12:52

Did MacGyver retire after that crash?



#44 Flat Black 84

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 13:56

Al "Cotton" Farmer crashed badly at the Pikes Peak Hillclimb in '67 and never raced again.

#45 Mig007

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 14:10

And Gary Bettenhausen? I think he suffered a bad crash in 1974/1975, from which his arm ? never recovered, so he never got a full ride in USAC IndyCras again. I think he had a proposal by Penske

#46 Flat Black 84

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 14:59

I thought that was Merl Bettenhausen rather than Gary? Seems like Gary raced well into the 80s, maybe even into the early 90s.

#47 Mig007

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 15:12

I don't know what happened to Merle Bettenhausen. Gary had a severe accident, I think it didn't end his career, but put some limitations to it. And yes, he ran well into 90's; I remember him in US500 in 1996, the first year I folllowed CART.

#48 Cynic2

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 15:41

That was bad.... I also was watching it live and was involved with Brix Racing, the car wore my livery.

I was 100% convinced there was no way he was still alive.... violent! I was sick. I don't think Fabrizio ever raced again either, but Jeremy's alive and well in Colorado.

A worthy mention.... you may know, team owner Harry Brix died a couple years ago. He was one of the finest clients and friends I've ever had, a sweetheart of a guy and a brilliant businessman.



You and I seem to have traveled in a few of the same circles. I also watched that crash, standing with John Gorsline, who arranged for Jeremy's helicopter flight to Georgia Baptist. I had helped arrange the Organ Donation livery for the Brix car -- Harry graciously donated all his ad space, and I couldn't help but think of Fabrizio, sitting crosswise on the track, seeing Jeremy approach at high speed with "Donate your organs" on the front of the car.

Neither driver ever raced again, of course. I visited both in their hospitals a few days later. Jeremy's legs were badly broken and he was clearly in pain, but his attitude was great. Fabrizio, seven days after the accident, was up and around. He told the nurses he was going down to a small garden with me, and then snuck away for a one mile walk -- almost a jog. (A friend of mine was the honorary Italian consul in Atlanta, and ensured that Fabrizio had genuine Italian food every day in the Gainesville hospital.)

That was absolutely the worst weekend for IMSA, at least while Hal Kelly was president. After the race was restarted there was another crash on the backstretch, involving Fredy Lienhard's Ferrari 333 SP and Steve Millen's Nissan 300 ZXT. Millen's neck was broken in that crash, ending his career.

So, on that one day, three good careers were ended: Dale, Barbazza, and Millen, and two Ferrari 333 SPs were destroyed, plus I suspect the Spice and the Nissan.

Cynic

(I also agree on Harry Brix. A few years ago I was involved with the brief attempt to have Derek Hill in a DP with Harrison Brix, and Harry did seem like a straight-up guy.)

#49 RStock

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 17:48

Did MacGyver retire after that crash?



Hahaha.

That's actually footage of two crashes combined. The actual crash is the Ganassi-Al Jr. shunt at Michigan. You'll notice the footage where he get's "clipped" is on a road course. That's Danny Sullivan at Portland, 1986 Budweiser GI Joe's 200. Don't remember who it was that clipped him. But I well remember the race. (And that episode of MacGuyver) :)

#50 Flat Black 84

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 18:33

I don't know what happened to Merle Bettenhausen. Gary had a severe accident, I think it didn't end his career, but put some limitations to it. And yes, he ran well into 90's; I remember him in US500 in 1996, the first year I folllowed CART.


It was Merle who suffered the career-ending injury. Happened at Michigan in '72.