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Carpenter out of hospital after fatal crash

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, Mar 28 (Reuters) IndyCar race driver Ed Carpenter, whose spin into the wall at Homestead-Miami Speedway precipitated Sunday's crash that killed driver Paul Dana, has been released from hospital.

Carpenter left Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami in good condition with a bruised lung yesterday, according to Dr. Henry Bock, senior director of medical services for Indy Racing League.

Carpenter, 25, was not yet cleared to run in Sunday's race at St. Petersburg, an IRL spokesman said.

Dana, 30, slammed into the rear of Carpenter's car at about 322 kph after Carpenter had spun, hit the wall in Turn 2 and slid back down the racetrack during warm-ups before the IRL's season-opening race.

Both drivers were airlifted by helicopter from the track to the downtown hospital, where Dana was later pronounced dead.

Despite the shock of the fatal accident that left pieces of both open-wheel race cars strewn over the track, the race was held and won by IRL series champion Dan Wheldon.

Dana's fellow drivers on the Rahal-Letterman team, Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice, pulled out of the race.

''Paul Dana's passing is a terrible tragedy and I want to express my condolences and sympathies to his family and friends,'' said team co-owner David Letterman, a TV talk show host who became a racing fan growing up in Indianapolis.

''I did not know Paul personally but we were all proud to have him on our team and are deeply saddened by his tragic passing at such a young age.'' CAUTION LIGHTS Racing officials were unable to explain the fatal accident since yellow caution lights went on across the track right after Carpenter's spin and some five seconds before Dana's Honda-powered Panoz smashed into the stalled Dallara-Honda.

''He carried way too much speed in and wasn't aware of what was going on around him,'' driver Buddy Lazier, who was passed by Dana just before the crash, told reporters.

Dana, a St Louis native and Indianapolis resident, had raced in just three IRL events as a rookie last year before suffering a season-ending back injury during the first week of practice for the Indy 500.

Rahal said later he was not aware of any communications problem between his driver and the pits. ''The spotter made clear the incident,'' he said.

It was the third fatal crash involving an IRL driver since 1996 following the 2003 death of Tony Renna and 1996 death of Scott Brayton, and was the 11th overall in major racing over the last 10 years including five fatalities in NASCAR and three in CART.

Indy Racing League officials yesterday had no further comment on the accident.

Reuters PDS VP0430

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