Las Vegas Motor Speedway's ''limitless'' racing surface was singled out Thursday as a significant factor in a ''perfect storm'' of conditions that led to the death of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon.
Wheldon was killed Oct. 16 during the series' season finale when his car sailed 325 feet through the air into a catchfence, and his head hit a post in the fence. The blow created a ''non-survivable injury.''
In the wake of the 15-car wreck, many criticized CEO Randy Bernard and IndyCar for creating a deadly mix of circumstances - offering a jobless Wheldon the chance to earn a $5 million bonus if he could drive from the back of a 34-car field to Victory Lane on a high-banked oval, where a field of mixed experience levels had enough room to race three-wide at over 220 mph.
But IndyCar president Brian Barnhart dismissed those factors and focused instead on Vegas' multi-grooved wide racing surface that heightened the dangers of pack racing on a high-banked oval.
The IndyCar, with open wheels and an open cockpit, is not suited for the pack racing that develops on ovals. Unlike NASCAR, where cars bump and bang on every lap, any contact in an IndyCar results in either a crash or a slew of broken parts.
Teams meet again in
DIII championship tonight
Wisconsin-Whitewater and Mount Union have dominated Division III college football over the past seven seasons and when it comes time to determine the national champion: The Warhawks have been on one sideline and the Purple Raiders on the other.
The two-time defending champion Warhawks (14-0) and Mount Union (14-0) will meet for an unprecedented seventh consecutive time in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl on Friday night at Salem Stadium. The teams have split the six meetings, with Whitewater winning three of the last four.
Kwan elected to Hall of Fame
To her nine U.S. and five world championships, Michelle Kwan can now add the title of Hall of Famer. The most decorated figure skater in American history, Kwan was elected to the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame on Thursday, the only selection for the class of 2012. That seems fitting considering how Kwan soared above the competition during her career.
Kwan had an amazing career, winning 43 championships, including eight straight national titles. She also won the silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics and bronze at the 2002 Games. She earned 57 perfect 6.0 marks in major events under the old scoring system, the most of any skater.
Kwan, who will be inducted into the hall during the national championships at the end of January in San Jose, Calif., has served as a public diplomacy envoy for the U.S. government for the last five years.
More charges raised against former Syracuse coach
A 56-year-old New York prison inmate says former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine began molesting him more than 40 years ago and continued to have sexual contact with him into adulthood.
Floyd VanHooser told The Associated Press during a prison interview Thursday that Fine began sexually abusing him when VanHooser was 14 years old. As an adult, the contact included sex acts for money.
VanHooser is the fourth man to accuse Fine of sexual abuse. He initially made his allegations to the Post-Standard of Syracuse.
Fine was fired Nov. 27 after a 36-year career at Syracuse after three men said he molested them when they were boys.
Fine has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged. A federal investigation is ongoing.
VanHooser is serving 16 years to life at Clinton state prison near the Canadian border for several burglaries of Syracuse-area homes. He was sentenced in October as a persistent felony burglar.