In the July edition of the NAFTC eNews, the article “Ethanol Returns To the Brickyard” reported on the premiere of ethanol-fueled racecars. Sadly, Paul Dana, a driver in the Indy Car Racing Series, died from injuries sustained in a crash during a practice session at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 26. Dana, a thirty-year-old rookie from St. Louis, Missouri, drove the number 17 Team Ethanol Honda/Panoz/Firestone car for the Rahal Letterman Racing Team.
In a statement released by Rahal Letterman Racing, David Letterman stated, “Paul Dana’s passing is a terrible tragedy, and I want to express my condolences and sympathies to his family and friends. 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.”
Bobby Rahal added, “It’s a very black day for us. On behalf of all of our team, David, our sponsors, and associates, our prayers and sympathies certainly go out to Paul, his wife, Tonya, and the whole Dana family.”
Jeff Simmons, a native of East Granby, Connecticut, has been named as the new Rahal Letterman Team Ethanol Driver. Simmons is a two-time Indy Pro Series championship runner-up. In the Rahal Letterman Racing statement announcing the new Team Ethanol Driver, Simmons stated, “I am honored to have the opportunity to promote the message and need for the clean, renewable fuel, ethanol, and to become a member of Rahal Letterman Racing. It is one of the most professional teams I could ever hope to be associated with, and I truly appreciate the faith that Bobby and the Team Ethanol sponsors have placed in me. The fact that I have this opportunity as a result of Paul’s passing is not lost on me, and I want to express my commiseration and offer my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. I believe the best way for me to honor him is to do everything I can to carry on the cause in which Paul believed so deeply and gave his life to promote.”
The Dana family has requested that donations be made to the Paul Dana Memorial Fund for Renewable Energy c/o National Bank of Indianapolis in lieu of flowers.