Kenny i sin värsta krasch någonsin.

Bräcks hustru om stjärnans rehabilitering
Operationen för två veckor sedan var lyckad.
Och rehabiliteringen går bra.
Snart får Kenny Bräck åka hem till bostaden i Columbus.
- Troligen blir det om två-tre veckor, säger hustrun Anita.
  
Kenny Bräck har stadigt blivit bättre efter den svåra kraschen i Texas som kunde ha kostat honom livet den 12 oktober.
Operationerna har varit många sedan dess.
Efter den senaste, för två veckor sedan, har värmlänningen tvingats vila mycket och inte kunnat bedriva så mycket rehabiliteringsträning.
- Kenny har varit trött och inte orkat så mycket. Men det går fortfarande långsamt framåt, säger hustrun Anita när hon pratar med VF-sporten på måndagseftermiddagen.
* Vilka framsteg har skett den senaste tiden?
- Kenny får inte lämna rullstolen på ett par månader men han kan stödja på vänsterbenet nu. Det går som sagt framåt.
Anita har umgåtts med sin make varje dag på rehabiliteringscentret i Indianapolis.
- Det har varit en jobbig tid, men jag mår bra och vi ser ljust på framtiden, säger Anita som beräknas föda parets första barn, en flicka, den 29 december.
- Det har varit extra påfrestande att vara gravid under den här tiden. Men både jag och Kenny kämpar på.
DEN FÖRSTA DECEMBER kommer Kennys föräldrar Gun och Bert över till USA för att träffa sin son för första gången efter olyckan. De kommer att stanna kvar i två månader.
- Om två-tre veckor kommer Kenny troligen få åka hem till Columbus och fortsätter då rehabiliteringsträningen hemifrån istället, berättar Anita.

JOHAN HEDLUND

© 2003 Värmlands Folkblad

”Gud är orsaken till att jag finns kvar”
Skadade Kenny Bräck tackar från sjukhussängen i Dallas för de tusentals bönerna

Direkt efter kraschen trodde många åskådare att Kenny Bräck var död. Men han överlevde. Och det tackar han tackar Gud för i sin första hälsning sedan olyckan.

Länge var det ett helt vanligt lopp, men plötsligt förändrades allt. Kenny Bräck, Sveriges största racerstjärna, kraschade i 350 kilometer i timmen natten till  den 13 oktober, svensk tid. Smällen var våldsam och bilen demolerades näst intill totalt.

– Jag har inte sett olyckan själv men jag har hört om den. Det öppnar verkligen ens ögon för att det finns högre makter, för jag är övertygad om att Gud är orsaken till att jag är kvar i den här världen, skriver han på sin hemsida.

Brevet är skrivet från sjukhussängen och är inledningsvis ett försök till att ge en rapport från loppet på Texas Motor Speedway.

Kenny Bräck.
Foto:HENRIK MONTGOMERY

Men han konstaterar snabbt att den nog måste bli ganska kort eftersom han inte har tillräckligt med krafter.
– Men det kanske inte spelar så stor roll för jag kommer ändå inte ihåg någonting från loppet, skriver han och bevisar att även humorn överlevt. 
Många operationer
När han kom till sjukhuset förra söndagen arbetade ett stort team med läkare och sjuksköterskor i 15 timmar för att, som Kenny Bräck skriver, ”få allting på plats igen, de gjorde ett fantastiskt jobb”. Sedan dess har operationerna varit många och läget bedömdes länge som kritiskt, men nu har tillståndet stabiliserats. Rehabiliteringen lär dock inte bli snabb eller enkel, troligtvis kommer han få tillbringa flera månader i rullstol till följd av de svåra skadorna.
– Jag förstår att det kommer att ta tid, men jag ska klara det.
Men tacksamheten riktas alltså inte enbart till sjukvårdspersonalen. Han tror att de böner som betts har gett resultat och visar speciell uppskattning för dem.
Tackar för böner
– Jag vill tacka alla fans som har skickat tusentals böner via e-mail. Jag kunde aldrig tro att jag hade ett sådant stöd, jag kan försäkra er om att det hjälper mig att ta mig genom den här händelsen på allra bästa sätt. 
Kenny Bräck är fortfarande kvar på sjukhuset i Dallas, men kommer troligtvis att förflyttas till Indianapolis snart för fortsatt rehabilitering. Vid hans sida finns hustrun Anita Bräck, en av alla dem som bett till Gud ända sedan olyckan. Och som tycker sig ha blivit bönhörd.

CARL-HENRIC JAKTLUND

Nya Dagen

Bräcks tillstånd inte längre allvarligt


www.kennybrack.com

Racerföraren Kenny Bräck mår allt bättre.

Sedan den våldsamma kraschen i söndags har han genomgått två operationer och i går kväll svensk tid kom nya besked.

Enligt Henry Bock, Indy Racingseriens chefsläkare, har svensken blivit så pass mycket bättre det senaste dygnet att hans tillstånd inte längre betecknas som allvarligt.

Svensken har fått tusentals av krya-på-dig-mejl de senaste dagarna. Bland de som visat sitt stöd finns bland annat kung Carl Gustav, tv-personligheten David Letterman och racingkollegor som Gil de Ferran och Max Papis.

Publicerad: 2003-10-18
"Kenny kommer att bli helt återställd"

Läkarnas lugnande besked efter att Bräck opererats


Kenny Bräck skadades svårt i en ruskig krasch natten till måndag.

I går opererades värmlänningen med lyckat resultat.
- Jag pratade med Kenny. Han var vid gott mod och skämtade som han brukar göra, säger Tom Blattler, Bräcks manager, till VF-sporten.
Läkarna hyser goda förhoppningar att Bräck kommer att vara helt återställd om ungefär tre månader.
  
Ni har säkert sett tv-bilderna när Bräck i ett omkörningsförsök i 350 kilometer i timmen krokar i Tomas Scheckters bil. Den höga farten gör att Bräcks bil lyfter och slår i nätet ovanför skyddsmuren.
Kenny Bräcks bil smulas sönder men värmlänningens cockpit förblev intakt. Det blev värmlänningens räddning.
TOM BLATTLER såg kraschen på storbilds-tv:n i depån.
- Min första tanke var att det här går åt helvete. Sen började jag springa ner mot sjukvårdscentret dit ambulansen fraktade Kenny.
Värmlänningen var otroligt nog vid medvetande bara någon minut efter kraschen som beskrivs som en av de värsta i IRL- seriens historia.

* Vad sa Kenny?
- Man såg att han hade svåra smärtor men han var ändå som han brukade. Kenny skämtade med några förarkollegor som kom och ville kolla läget.
Kenny Bräck flögs under gårdagen till sjukhuset där han opererades för frakturen på höger lårben samt frakturerna på båda vristerna.
- Jag talade med honom innan operationen och då var han fortfarande på bra humör, säger Tom Blattler.
I ett pressmeddelande från Bräcks stall sägs att operationen i går var lyckad.
- Kennys tillstånd är fortfarande allvarligt men stabilt. Han är vaken och alert, säger Henry Bock, ansvarig läkare för Parkland Memorial Hospital i Dallas.
Kenny Bräcks ryggskada kommer att opereras senare i veckan om allt går enligt planerna.
- Det är den sista informationen jag fått, säger Tom Blattler som låter märkbart lättad.
NÄR VF-SPORTEN nådde Blattler direkt efter kraschen var han chockad och fårordig.
- Vi i teamet är alla på bra humör eftersom läkarna tror att Kenny ska bli fullt återställd.
Kennys fru Anita, som bär på parets första barn, vakar hela tiden vid Kennys sida.
- Kenny frågar hela tiden om vad som hände. Han är glad över att se sina vänner igen och kamraterna från Team Rahal. Nu gäller det att han får lugn och ro så att han blir helt återställd, säger Anita Bräck i ett pressmeddelande.
Tom Blattler har även pratat med Kennys fru, Anita.
- Det har naturligtvis varit en traumatisk upplevelse för Anita men hon har klarat det hela bra.

* Vad säger hon?
- Allt hon vill är att Kenny ska få vila.
Kenny Bräcks mamma Gun såg kraschen i direktsändning hemma i Glava.
- Kenny har kraschat flera gånger förr. Men aldrig så här allvarligt, säger hon till Expressen.
- Man mår inte alls bra när man får se sånt här. Och vad tänker man på? Ja, man blir helt stum. Man orkar bara inte. Man bara står där och tittar. Väntar på att nån ska säga nånting. Men ingen säger ju nånting.
En annan som såg loppet direkt var Janne "Flash" Nilsson, Kennys bästa kompis i Karlstad.
- Jag såg att sittbrunnen inte tvärstannade och att den var intakt. Dessutom var hjälmen där den skulle vara, då fick man lite hopp.
- Vad som är viktigt i sådana här fall är ju hur hög hastighetsminskningen är och att cockpiten inte delas på mitten. Det får inte bli tvärstopp, säger ´´Flash´´ till TT.
"Flash" har även pratat med Anita Bräck.
- Hon berättade att han kunde röra på benen före operationen. Efter en så pass allvarlig olycka så finns det olika saker man är orolig över, först förstås om föraren ska överleva, sedan skallskador, därefter ryggskador...handlar det om benbrott så har man kommit billigt undan, trots allt.

© 2003 Värmlands Folkblad                                     PEO AJAXSON

 

Posted on Mon, Oct. 13, 2003
Kenny Brack seriously injured but alive after horrific wreck in Texas
Daily News Wire Services

Kenny Brack was seriously injured yesterday when his car was hit from behind and pinwheeled down the track before breaking apart, marring Gil de Ferran's victory and Scott Dixon's IRL championship.
Brack suffered multiple fractures at the season-ending race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth when his car was hit from behind and pinwheeled into the air. The car broke apart when it slammed into the 12-foot steel catchfence at the top of the 39-inch concrete wall on the backstretch. The crash came with 12 laps left in the Chevy 500.
Brack was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital after being removed from what was left of his car, which was hit by Tomas Scheckter. Brack was in serious but stable condition; Scheckter was uninjured.
In other races:
• Michael Schumacher clinched a record sixth Formula One world title by finishing eighth in the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, Japan...CART points leader Paul Tracy won the Mexico Grand Prix...Tony Stewart scored his second victory of the season Saturday at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.

Home, and more...

 

Emergency personnel place Kenny Brack, of Sweden, into an ambulance after Brack crashed during the IRL Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003. Brack was seriously injured when his car was hit from behind and pinwheeled down the track before breaking apart.
(AP Photo/LM Otero)
Oct 12, 7:36 pm EDT

 

INDY RACING NEWS

Brack Undergoes Successful Surgery At Dallas Hospital

By Joe Crowley
indyracing.com
Sunday Oct 12, 2003
IRL IndyCar TM Series driver Kenny Brack underwent successful surgery on his right femur and both ankles Oct. 12 at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, said Dr. Henry Bock, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League.
Dr. Brian Estridge, a trauma surgeon, and Dr. Charles Reinert, an orthopedic surgeon, performed the surgery.
Brack remains in serious, but stable condition and is awake and alert, Bock said.
Brack suffered a fractured right femur, a fractured sternum and lumbar and fractures to both ankles in an accident on Lap 188 of the Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the final race of the 2003 IndyCar Series season.
Further updates on Brack's condition will be provided when available.

 

Posted on Sun, Oct. 12, 2003

Brack hurt in season-ending IRL crash
MIKE HARRIS
Associated Press

FORT WORTH, Texas - Kenny Brack was seriously injured Sunday when his car was hit from behind and pinwheeled down the track before breaking apart, marring Gil de Ferran's victory and Scott Dixon's IRL championship.
The crash, with 12 laps left at the IRL season-ending Chevy 500, sent Brack's car sailing high in the air before it smashed off a steel guardrail near the end of the back straightaway on the 1 1/2-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval.
The race proceeded under a caution for seven laps and ended five laps early.
Track officials said Brack was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital after being removed from the cockpit of his car, which was hit by Tomas Scheckter. Brack was in serious but stable condition; Scheckter was uninjured.
The Chevy 500 was a typical IRL race, with cars often running wheel-to-wheel at about 220 mph.
There were five other caution flags during the Chevy 500, but only one other crash, involving Felipe Giaffone and Alex Barron. Neither were injured.
Most of the attention throughout the day was on the five-man championship battle that began with Dixon and Helio Castroneves tied for the lead and closely trailed by Tony Kanaan, two-time defending IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. and de Ferran, who announced earlier this season that he would retire following this race.
De Ferran had to drive through the infield grass to avoid the accident and made an extra pit stop. That forced Marlboro Team Penske to revert to a fuel strategy, which worked to perfection as de Ferran got the lead on lap 161 as all the other leaders made green flag pit stops.
He managed to hold the top spot with a quick fuel stop on lap 168 and was fending off the tenacious Dixon when the final yellow flag waved.
"The fuel strategy worked out perfect for me. It's unbelievable," de Ferran said. "All of our thoughts are with Kenny, hopefully he's OK.
"It's been a fantastic four years with Team Penske. It's a time I'm going to remember the rest of my life."
Dixon gave Chip Ganassi his first IRL championship after four titles in the rival CART series.
Dixon drove for Ganassi last year in CART, but moved with his boss to the IRL in 2003, started the year with a win and was in the championship battle all year.
"The championship is a huge weight off my shoulder," the driver from New Zealand said. "We had so many ups and downs.
"We had a rough midseason, kept trucking on. Nobody ever got down. We went to the next race, knew we'd have great speed and dominant cars."
Texas has been the sight of five of the 10 closest finishes in IRL history and it appeared until the big crash Sunday that it was going to provide another one.
The five championship contenders ran at the front as a pack through most of the early part of the race before some of them ran into trouble.
De Ferran, who won two CART championships and this year's Indianapolis 500 for the Penske team, fell way back into the pack after his off-track excursion and spent most of the second half conserving fuel and waiting for his strategy to pay off.
Hornish had won the two previous season-ending races here and came into Sunday's event having won three of the last four events, but his car lost power after making a scheduled pit stop on lap 151 while leading. The engine gave up on lap 176.
Castroneves and Kanaan were battling for second and third place, not far behind de Ferran, on a restart on lap 180 when the two contenders banged together going into the third turn.
Kanaan slowed immediately and pitted for repairs, while Castroneves kept going but had to pit on lap 183. Either Castroneves or Kanaan would have won the championship by winning or finishing second to de Ferran.
Dan Wheldon finished third, sewing up rookie of the year honors. He was followed by Vitor Meira, Bryan Herta and former IRL champion Scott Sharp.

 


Posted on Mon, Oct. 13, 2003

'Emotional wreck'
Brack's haunting accident a reminder of sport's dangers
By Richie Whitt
Star-Telegram Staff Writer


Admit it, you thought he was dead. We all did.
In the stands, there were 105,000 hushed voices and held breaths. In his native Sweden, Internet users up past midnight posted 88 frantic queries on a Web site forum. And in the eerily quiet infield, I pondered the grim reality of transforming a sports column into an obituary.
Fortunately, after a horrific, haunting accident that cast a chilling pall over Texas Motor Speedway, Kenny Brack is alive. If not well.
In serious condition at the Level 1 Trauma Center in Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital, he has a concussion. He has multiple injuries to his extremities. And, amazingly, he has a pulse.
With 12 laps to go in Sunday's Chevy 500 IRL season finale, fans were excitedly on the edge of their seats. The race, and the series' season title, were up in the air. Then suddenly, shockingly, so was Brack's car.
Just like that, a victory party almost became a funeral.
Brack, the 1999 Indianapolis 500 champion, touched wheels with Tomas Scheckter, which quickly escalates into a life-and-death problem when going 220 mph. Approaching Turn 3, the cars briefly bumped, then went airborne near the outside wall. Brack's Honda flipped upside down, began spinning violently, then basically disintegrated as parts of it caromed into, off of and straight through the safety fence atop the turn's concrete wall.
In a blur, all we could make out was the image of Brack, encased in only the car's tiny protective "tub," spinning upside down about 15 feet in the air and hurtling down the track amidst debris.
Somehow, Scheckter walked away without a scratch. But in the harrowing minutes to follow, all we knew about Brack was the major mangled fence from which one his car's tires dangled, and a huddle of emergency workers around his body near the infield.
"It was a horrific scene," said Gil de Ferran, declared the winner when the suddenly insignificant race was cut short. "It turns your stomach to see something like that. Unfortunately that's part of our sport. It's not the first accident like that. And it's not going to be the last."
In case you'd already forgotten Dale Earnhardt's death at Daytona or Tony Roper's fatal truck crash at TMS in 2000, auto racing is a cold-blooded sport. While Brack fought for his life a couple hundred yards away, de Ferran did victory doughnuts on the finish line. As Brack was loaded into a CareFlite helicopter, IRL president and CEO Tony George presented de Ferran with the race's trophy and Scott Dixon with the series' $1 million winner's check. And just minutes after Brack left TMS airspace, celebratory fireworks filled the same sky.
"I apologize for being somber," said de Ferran, who began his retirement in a subdued Victory Lane. "But my heart is being pulled in every sort of direction."
After what felt like an eternity of stifling suspense, we finally got the news that Brack was "awake and alert." Your tension melted. You felt like sighing. You felt like breathing. You felt like hugging the person next to you.
And you really wished that person next to you was Kenny Brack.
At only 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds, the 37-year-old is no bigger than you or me. But, born in Arvika, Sweden with that blonde hair and those blue eyes, he's much better looking. His wife is Anita, his favorite movie is Austin Powers, he despises neckties and his favorite meal is mom's moose steak. He plays lead guitar in Kenny Brack and the Subwoofers, an Indianapolis rock band that recently opened for Three Doors Down.
He learned to drive at age 6 in his dad's lap on a frozen lake near his home. His first car, a gift for his 13th birthday, was a green Saab. And when he won the '99 Indy 500, he got a congratulatory call from the King of Sweden himself. In '98 he won the IRL Series title and, as a CART driver, drove the fastest lap ever around TMS -- 233 mph.
On his Swedish-based Web site, www.kennybrack.com, he lists his favorite day of the year as "the first day after the last race of the season ... so I get to party." Brack likely won't do a lot of partying Monday. But here's guessing he will enjoy the day like no other before or after it.
And now you know Kenny Brack. Better late.
Than never.

 

Posted on Mon, Oct. 13, 2003

Crash ends IRL race early
MIKE HARRIS
Associated Press


FORT WORTH, Texas - Gil de Ferran had envisioned what it would be like to finish his racing career with a win.
He thought about celebrating with his Marlboro Team Penske teammates and the friends and family who had come to share the weekend with the Brazilian racer.
De Ferran did his part, taking the checkered flag Sunday in the IRL's season-ending Chevy 500.
But a terrifying crash that left longtime friend and competitor Kenny Brack in a Dallas hospital in serious but stable condition deflated the celebration.
Brack had surgery on his broken right thigh and broken ankles at Parkland Memorial Hospital, IRL spokesman Tom Savage said Monday. Brack also faces more surgery on his lower back and sternum.
De Ferran was holding off Scott Dixon on lap 188 of the race scheduled to go 200 laps on the 1 1/2-mile oval at Texas Motor Speedway when Brack, hit from behind by Tomas Scheckter, suddenly went flying.
"To be honest, most of my concern was with Kenny at that point," de Ferran said. "The catch fencing was gone and the wheel hanging (over the wall). It was a horrific scene.
"My heart is being pulled in many different directions. I won my last race, but there's a big crash. I apologize for being a little bit somber. I've known Kenny for many years. My thoughts and prayers are with him."
Dixon wound up second in the race, good enough to beat de Ferran for the series championship by 18 points. Dixon also was worried about Brack, and disappointed he could not race de Ferran for the win.
"It's always disappointing to end under yellow, but I just hope Kenny is OK," the new champion said. "Gil had a great car. He was going to be difficult to pass."
A team spokesman said Brack was alert and joking with his wife and the manager of Team Rahal while being treated in the infield care center at the track.
The Chevy 500 was a typical IRL race, with cars often running wheel-to-wheel at about 220 mph.
Most of the attention throughout the day was on the five-man championship battle that began with Dixon and Helio Castroneves tied for the lead and closely trailed by Tony Kanaan, two-time defending IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. and de Ferran.
De Ferran had to drive through the infield grass to avoid an accident involving Alex Barron and Felipe Giaffone on lap 98, and made an extra pit stop to make sure his car was not damaged.
That forced the Penske team to revert to a fuel strategy for de Ferran, and it worked to perfection after he got the lead on lap 161 as all the other leaders made green flag pit stops.
"I really concentrated hard on saving fuel and I was trying to take as few risks as I could and save as much fuel as I could at that point," de Ferran said. "I knew if I did that, my last stop was going to be very short and that could have made the difference in the race."
It did.
He held the top spot with a quick fuel stop on lap 168 and was fending off Dixon when the final yellow flag waved.
Dixon gave Chip Ganassi his first IRL championship after four titles in the rival CART series.
Dixon drove for Ganassi last year in CART, but moved with his boss to the IRL in 2003, started the year with a win and was in the championship battle all year.
"The thing with the team this year is we were consistently fast," the driver from New Zealand said.
Castroneves wound up third in the points, followed by Kanaan and Hornish, who will move to the Penske team to replace de Ferran in 2004.
Dan Wheldon finished third in the race, winning rookie of the year honors. He was followed by Vitor Meira, Bryan Herta and former IRL champion Scott Sharp.

 

Motorsports
Posted on Sun, Oct. 12, 2003


Hard crash ends race early;
Dixon wins series title
By MIKE HARRIS
The Associated Press


FORT WORTH, Texas - Kenny Brack was seriously injured Sunday when his car was hit from behind and pinwheeled down the track before breaking apart, marring Gil de Ferran's victory and Scott Dixon's IRL championship.The crash, with 12 laps left at the IRL season-ending Chevy 500, sent Brack's car sailing high in the air before it smashed off a steel guardrail near the end of the back straightaway on the 11/2-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval.
The race proceeded under a caution for seven laps and ended five laps early.
Track officials said Brack was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital after being removed from the cockpit of his car, which was hit by Tomas Scheckter. Brack was in serious but stable condition; Scheckter was uninjured.
The Chevy 500 was a typical IRL race, with cars often running wheel-to-wheel at about 220 mph.
There were five other caution flags during the Chevy 500, but only one other crash, involving Felipe Giaffone and Alex Barron. Neither were injured.
Most of the attention throughout the day was on the five-man championship battle that began with Dixon and Helio Castroneves tied for the lead and closely trailed by Tony Kanaan, two-time defending IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. and de Ferran, who announced earlier this season that he would retire following this race.
De Ferran had to drive through the infield grass to avoid the accident and made an extra pit stop. That forced Marlboro Team Penske to revert to a fuel strategy, which worked to perfection as de Ferran got the lead on lap 161 as all the other leaders made green flag pit stops.
He managed to hold the top spot with a quick fuel stop on lap 168 and was fending off the tenacious Dixon when the final yellow flag waved.
"The fuel strategy worked out perfect for me. It's unbelievable," de Ferran said. "All of our thoughts are with Kenny, hopefully he's OK.
"It's been a fantastic four years with Team Penske. It's a time I'm going to remember the rest of my life."
Dixon gave Chip Ganassi his first IRL championship after four titles in the rival CART series.
Dixon drove for Ganassi last year in CART, but moved with his boss to the IRL in 2003, started the year with a win and was in the championship battle all year.
"The championship is a huge weight off my shoulder," the driver from New Zealand said. "We had so many ups and downs.
"We had a rough midseason, kept trucking on. Nobody ever got down. We went to the next race, knew we'd have great speed and dominant cars."
Texas has been the sight of five of the 10 closest finishes in IRL history and it appeared until the big crash Sunday that it was going to provide another one.
The five championship contenders ran at the front as a pack through most of the early part of the race before some of them ran into trouble.
De Ferran, who won two CART championships and this year's Indianapolis 500 for the Penske team, fell way back into the pack after his off-track excursion and spent most of the second half conserving fuel and waiting for his strategy to pay off.
Hornish had won the two previous season-ending races here and came into Sunday's event having won three of the last four events, but his car lost power after making a scheduled pit stop on lap 151 while leading. The engine gave up on lap 176.
Castroneves and Kanaan were battling for second and third place, not far behind de Ferran, on a restart on lap 180 when the two contenders banged together going into the third turn.
Kanaan slowed immediately and pitted for repairs, while Castroneves kept going but had to pit on lap 183. Either Castroneves or Kanaan would have won the championship by winning or finishing second to de Ferran.
Dan Wheldon finished third, sewing up rookie of the year honors. He was followed by Vitor Meira, Bryan Herta and former IRL champion Scott Sharp.

 

Posted on Mon, Oct. 13, 2003

IRL CHEVY 500
'It was a horrific scene'
De Ferran 1st; Dixon gets title
BY CAMMY CLARK

cclark@herald.com


CRASH COURSE: Kenny Brack goes airborne as Tomas Scheckter hits the wall Sunday. Brack was flown to a hospital. AP PHOTO

FORT WORTH, Texas - The Chevy 500 was expected to be one of the most dramatic championship finishes in open-wheel history, with five drivers still in contention at Sunday's IndyCar Series finale.
With the checkered flag waving, the 60,000-plus at Texas Motor Speedway all were holding their breaths. But it was not the finish hoped for by anyone -- including race winner Gil de Ferran or new IRL champion Scott Dixon.
More than 10 safety crew workers dressed in orange fire suits surrounded Kenny Brack of Sweden. He was inside his car's cockpit, which was the only part of his car still intact after a 220-mph collision with Tomas Scheckter sent him airborne and crashing into the wall at the end of the backstretch with 12 laps to go.
The yellow flag came out and rescue crews were at the scene instantly. Scheckter was able to get out of his mangled car immediately, but Brack did not move. When it became clear that Brack was injured, IRL officials called the race on Lap 195, five laps short.
Brack, the 1998 IRL champion and 1999 Indy 500 winner, was airlifted to Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where he is in serious but stable condition.
Brack fractured his lower back and both ankles and was to undergo surgery Sunday night on his right thigh and both ankles.
While circling the 1.5-mile quadoval under caution, the retiring de Ferran, 35, knew that his illustrious racing career was going to end in Victory Lane. But it was difficult to enjoy at that moment.
''My heart was pulled in every sort of direction,'' de Ferran said. ``But most of my concern was with Kenny at that point. Certainly you didn't have to look too closely to realize that there was no catch fencing. It was a horrific scene.''
Dixon was right behind de Ferran when the accident occurred. While driving around under caution, he knew he was going to win his first major open-wheel championship. But the 23-year-old from New Zealand also had mixed emotions.
''It's always a shame when it ends on yellow,'' Dixon said. ``For the circumstances, it's great to see Thomas [his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate this year] and Kenny [a teammate for half of last season] are both fine.''
$1 MILLION PRIZE
With the second-place race finish, Dixon won the IRL championship and $1 million prize by 18 points over de Ferran. Castroneves finished third in the points, with his 12th-place result in the race. Tony Kanaan was fourth (14th in the race) and Sam Hornish Jr. was fifth (17th).
The Chevy 500 began with Dixon, who won the season-opener at Miami-Homestead Speedway in March, and Miami resident Castroneves tied at 467 points. Miami resident Kanaan was in third, seven points behind. A victory by any of them would have guaranteed themselves their first championship.
Defending two-time IRL champion Hornish was in fourth place, 19 points behind. De Ferran of Fort Lauderdale was the long shot, trailing by 30 points. But de Ferran was on the pole in his No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske car.
For the first half of the race it looked liked it was going to be a finish for the ages, with all five contenders in front.
But on Lap 99, Felipe Giaffone brushed the wall exiting Turn 4 and slid through the dogleg. Alex Barron tried to avoid him but couldn't and slammed into the outside retaining wall by Turn 1.
De Ferran, who had fallen to the middle of the pack, drove into the grass. The nose of Barron's car brushed de Ferran's left rear and nearly spun him around.
'So I was going down the grass at 200 mph thinking, `OK, this is not much fun,' '' de Ferran said.
At that point, de Ferran thought his chances of victory were over with suspected suspension damage. He pitted. His crew discovered no damage, but he was almost at the tail end for the restart.
FUEL STRATEGY
A great fuel strategy by team owner Roger Penske and a blazing-fast pit stop would save the day.
De Ferran took the lead among the contenders on Lap 154 when he elected to stay out and the rest pitted. De Ferran built a big lead and maintained it after a lightning pit stop of his own on Lap 167.
But Hornish, who will take de Ferran's spot on Team Penske next year, had an engine problem right after his pit stop and dropped out of the race on Lap 176.
''We just couldn't get back up to speed,'' Hornish said. ``We're not really sure what happened, but we were spraying a bit of oil, so they made us come in.''
On the Lap 179 restart, de Ferran was leading with Kanaan on the outside and Castroneves on the inside battling for second. But Castroneves hit a little bump and swerved into Kanaan, causing damage to both cars.
At that point, Dixon knew he was probably going to end up the champion.
''Yeah, I was pretty happy,'' Dixon said. ``Sad to say, but I was ecstatic.
De Ferran also was sad to see his good friends, both fellow Brazilians, lose their chance to battle Dixon for the title. But for himself, it was almost a perfect way to go into retirement.
''It's really been a wonderful journey,'' he said. ``And finishing this way, with a pole position and a victory and nearly a championship is something that I will carry with me for many years.''

 

Auto Racing
Posted on Sun, Oct. 12, 2003

Brack reportedly awake, alert at hospital
ThatsRacin.com Report


Driver Kenny Brack was in serious and stable condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Dr. Henry Bock, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League, said late Sunday.Brack suffered a fractured right femur, a fractured sternum and lumbar and fractures to both ankles, IRL officials said. He was hurt in an accident on Lap 188 of the Chevy 500 Oct. 12 at Texas Motor Speedway.
He was awake and alert and was to undergo surgery on the femur and both ankles Sunday night, officials said.