During a warm-up session Sunday for the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, rookie driver Paul Dana collided going over 200 mph with a car that had hit the wall and spun to a stop at the bottom of the track. Dana and the other driver, Ed Carpenter, were flown to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami where two hours later Dana was pronounced dead. Carpenter escaped the tragedy with no injuries, according to SI.com.

It’s unclear why Dana did not slow down on the track despite yellow warning lights flashing on the track for several seconds before the crash, though out of respect the rookie driver not many are pursuing an answer to that question at the moment.

Dana’s teammates on the Rahal Letterman team, femme phenom Danica Patrick and Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, did not race during the season opener yesterday out of respect for Dana’s death. Last year’s Indy 500 winner, Dan Wheldon, won the race edging out Helio Castroneves by 0.0147 seconds, the ninth closest finish in league history.

[Source: Sports Illustrated]