Driver Tony Renna killed in crash at Indy - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Driver Tony Renna killed in crash at Indy

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Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 11:22 am | Updated: 2:27 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

INDIANAPOLIS - IRL racer Tony Renna died Wednesday after crashing at close to 220 mph during a test drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, team owner Chip Ganassi said.

Renna, 26, of Deland, Fla., crashed into the outside wall while exiting the track's third turn.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at Methodist Hospital, speedway spokesman Ron Green said, adding that the cause of the accident was not immediately known.

"Tony was a great young guy," Green said. "I don't think anyone in the paddock ever had a bad thing to say about Tony."

He is the 67th person fatally injured at the track since it opened in 1909. The last driver killed was Scott Brayton, who died in a crash during practice in 1996.

Ganassi said he was told Renna was on his fourth lap of the day and had reached speeds of 218 mph when the car crashed.

Renna finished seventh in the Indianapolis 500 in May, and he joined the elite Ganassi Racing team this month, replacing Tomas Scheckter, who switched to Panther Racing.

Ganassi's lead driver, Scott Dixon, won the IRL championship in the just-concluded season and was among three drivers who began tire tests at the Speedway on Tuesday.

Renna drove in the Indy Lights series from 1998-00, and he debuted in the IRL in 2002 as a substitute driver for Al Unser Jr.

Renna competed in seven IndyCar Series races with Kelley Racing, with five top-10 finishes, including a career-best fourth in 2002 at Michigan.

He began racing at age 6, and he won 252 races in mini-sprints, go-karts, micro-sprints and quarter-midgets. He twice was national quarter-midget champion, then was the 1996 rookie of the year in the Barber Dodge Pro Series.

He also raced in the Barber Dodge series in 1997 and the next year joined Indy Lights, the developmental series for CART.

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