Yes, a very lucky man! My first Indycar cutaway was the Penske PC6, an all-ali tub, and it was fascinating to see, over the next ten years, the gradual move from aluminium to full carbon. The ovals will always present a particular threat to man and machine with the high speeds, lack of run-off areas and concrete walls.
We have been going through a run of problems over here in drag racing, involving no turns or any of that type of thing. There are some rather large stopping devices involved, and most of the recent problems have involved trying to bring cars to a stop without chutes. Since that is the primary method to bring these things to a halt from 300+ mph runs, if they go, you aren't going to stop without hitting something rather substantial. We lost ex-Top Fuel Champion Scott Kalitta to an out of control stop when he launched into a camera position over the sandtrap after chute failure. A couple of weeks ago, we lost Alcohol Dragster pilot Mark Niver to a similar thing, at 50mph slower speeds. When you actually realize that the chutes aren't out, it doesn't leave one much time to contemplate corrective action, or one's life review, I have to think.
And, with the forces involved, the carbon Fibre structures would just 'grenade and leave nothing behind in those types of impacts.
I think that we will have to accept the idea that the human body, running into something in a relatively light structure, will probably eat a lot of shit when the collision is over 200mph. We have a lot of evolvin' to do before we will be able to handle that kind of thing reliably, I would think.
Fortunately, they don't take the NASCAR approach and keep adding tubing every time something happens, figuring that they fixed that specific problem for the next time. Ever wonder how they got to a 4000 pound race car with a '70s Chevelle front suspension and 73 Chevy Pickup rear suspension design? Talk about maxing out performance potential ... and add more tubes when they go faster.
That is part of the gladiator/knight concept of racing. Like the idea of those World War I pilots, that was elemental kill-or-get killed combat, and those guys really come off as heroes compared to the rest of our rather pussy societies that have come about. Racing has an element of that gunslinger mentality that has to be accepted; it isn't going to be made completely safe, as everyone else expects to be as they creampuff through life.
I don't celebrate the injuries and death, but the opportunity to make the decisions to take that risk, accepting the upside and the downside of their decisions.
Now, don't ask what the hell this has to do with cutaways ...
Sorry, I lost track of myself there.