Originally posted by HistoricMustang
Thanks Henri but one thing really disturbs me.
If the car was so bad and if perhaps the driver was so over his head, why in the world did USAC, the Speedway and the sponsors allow the car on track and attempt an ill fated adventure. If they felt like an accident was possible, then why? Or, has the tragedy been hyped so much through the years we may never find a possible alternate resolution?
Did an iceburg sink the Titanic as was thought for so many years? Nope, it seems to have been metal in the steel plates that produced a mechanical failure.
Dave was a rookie at Indianapolis but his experience in high powered automobiles at very fast ovals and road courses is an indication that he was at least somewhat comfortable in the car. The old story of "I have never seen a pilot crash his airplane into the ground" applies here. Why would everyone concerned do something so stupid.
As mentioned, we can not even document the amount of fuel in the car. How can we rule out even the slightest possibility that perhaps there was some type of mechanical issue with the car that caused what some feel was unsafe driving on Dave's part just after the start and up until the accident.
We need more documentation as this goes much deeper than a accident 43 years ago that took the lives of two drivers. People are not going to change their "toon" after four decades so it is up to us to attempt to gather ADDITIONAL or NEW information if in fact it is there.
Thanks as well Henry,
As for for USAC not banning the car. Well, when did USAC or AAA ever ban a car from the Speedway? up til 1964, about the only car I can come up with out of the top of my head was that AAA inspecteed the Novi after Hepburn's fatality after claims by Bergere and others that the Novi was unsafe.
The other things I can recall right now is in 1967 when they mandated a hole within the airbreak of the STP turbine car in order to allow drivers behind it a little window to look through it. And the STP Lotus Turbines being forced to use susspension components odf a different specification metal than was used.
Other than that I can not mention a car that was banned of the track for being questionable in safety.
By the way, the latest on what sank the Titanic that the hull plates were of acceptable quality for the time of the day But there is a theory that the pop nails to bind the plates together were not strong enough. They gave in once the titanic hit the iceberg, the hull wasn't so much ripped open by the ice but the pop nails giving in and some the plates becoming separated. Pats of the wreck salvaged from the bottom of the ocean and metallurgic analysis of them seem to support this theory.
Back to topic.
Itr appears to me that you can't accept anything wrong being done by Dave in the race. I think that, however, there is still one driver error he did made that can be said about that he did make it.
Again, I agree with you that, based on what evidence is available now, for the time being mechanical failure can’t be excluded for the full 100% yet. But the fact remains that poor Dave still has almost every available evidence against him, partly due to, regret to say, his own fault.
If there was indeed a conspiracy by Thompson, Ford and other prominent parties involved to blame the entire accident on a rookie, then I suppose that you won’t believe much of all what Mickey Thompson has said like about having sorted out the car on carb day. Or the fact which was stated by both Thompson and Fred Bailey about McDonald having to take action to avoid into another car’s tale after closing in on him so much faster out of the corner. ( I put those quots within this thread)
If Thompson was indeed right and had the car sorted out on Carb day, then why did Clark still come up to Dave and advise him to walk away from that car? I think that more or less approves that the car still wasn’t sorted out. Or did Thompson do something else on the car after that as the last, final attempt?
Also his comment to Dave to take it easy in the first laps could well be a lie in order to put the blame on Dave.
And should USAC director of competition Henry Banks also have been in the plot and made up a story about having talked with Dave short before the start?
Also, was Bob Falcon (who’se story I quoted) lying about knowing of at least two people with whom Dave had spoken about the car worrying him? And Dave’s dad when he spoke about the concerns of his son about the car, was he not telling the truth either.
Because: If Dave was indeed hesitant about the car, then why in Heaven’s name did he take so much risks in overtaking so many drivers in the first laps with a car he had expressed his hesitations about and which he had never driven yet wit a full fuel load in busy traffic yet?
Dave was said to be all over the place. So he must have been utterly confident all of a sudden that he could tame the car. And I have understood from reports about his driving style that he hung out the tail of his cars quite often. (Is that correct by the way??)
So all of a sudden he must have been utterly confident or, in case that his peers were right and that Dave almost lost it twice already, he then failed to realize that he was driving beyond the limits of his car, even with his skills to control a tailhappy car.
You suggested he might have been heading for the pit lane. To me it appears more likely that, if it wasn’t for avoiding a driver directly ahead of him, maybe he had taken the corner at his beloved manner, hanging the tail out? And then being unable to catch up the car and straighten it out again, due to whatever reason, equipment failure not excluded..
Now, that reason could indeed still have been a mechanical failure at that particular moment. I won’t deny that, I can’t prove you’re off with that suggestion. Neither can I approve that nothing was wrong at all and Dave simply lost it yet again but this time for once and for all.
As you said: We just don't know.
But: even if the wreck showed suspension failure: how can it be proven by now that it was a result of breakage before the crash? Given the impact of Sachs’s car and the fact that Rutherford went over the car as well, who else did run into Dave’s wreck how much of all damage on the car is a result of all these collisions.
Are the odds on a car breaking its suspension like a sister car did better than finding out that on a heavily mangled wreck which had several heavy impacts the suspension was wrecked exactly like on that sister car?
Yes, it could indeed have been mechanical failure.
But I am afraid that, given Dave’s manner of driving in a car that he was having thoughts about, he didn’t take these feelings (and those of others about his car) in consideration in those early laps.
And I think that is what can be rated as Dave’s `driver error` he made. Even if mechanical failure will be proven later on, that won’t take away the fact that within the 1 ¾ laps he drove, he didn’t drove like a driver who had expressed some reservations for his own car as he knew it, had not driven yet in the conditions he was to drive it early on in the race, and kept all of that in consideration, for whatever reason.
We knew he knew better about his car, yest when it really counted he didn't behaveactdrove like that.
The heat of the moment, for which the first laps at Indy are known for, might have been the case, I don’t know.
But then: I don’t blame him for having done what he did, I only don’t understand it why he did it while he knew better about his car.
Neither do I blame him for loosing control, for whatever reason that did happen, neither for the wreck that followed, neither for the fatality of Sachs and all other injuries and the aftermath of it all. Once he was in a slide, it was out of his hands, nothing to blame hime for.
By the way, nothing I wrote is intended as a personal attack on Dave. I pity him and I regret that he ended up in a situation like this. He didn't deserve that and it is sad that it all happened like that.
Last suggestion to you Henry,
Whatever the outcome will be, I hope that pictures taken shortly before the impact will appear eventually. But maybe you need to be on another forum? Like Eagle104 ‘s nostalgia forum or the Historic Racing Group at Yahoo. These groups are much more into Indy history than this Atlas group.