Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fender Debate in IRL Heats Up

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fender Debate in IRL Heats Up

Article excerpt

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Will openwheel racing become an archaic term in the Indy Racing League?

A crash that killed three fans and injured eight others at Lowe's Motor Speedway has sparked serious debate about adding fenders to the cars for the 2000 season.

Bruton Smith, who owns Lowe's and three other tracks where the IRL stages five of its 11 races, is pushing the idea mainly as a way of improving safety. He is still troubled by the grim scenario of debris flying into the grandstands at the May 1 race.

Smith also owns the similarly designed Atlanta Motor Speedway, where the Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500 will be held tonight.

The drivers who qualified last night in their open-wheelers are reluctant to make such a drastic change.

"To me, open-wheel cars are the pinnacle of racing," said Kenny Brack, winner of the Indianapolis 500 and defending IRL champion. "You've got to be very accurate at all times. They respond to the slightest mistake you make. …

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