Vegas Speedway President defends track

Chris Powell fights back accusations track was "not suitable" for Sunday┬┐s race

Las Vegas, Nev.

The President of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is fighting back accusations that his track was unfit for Sunday’s IndyCar race in which IZOD IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon died.

Before and after the race, several drivers waved the red flag and expressed their concerns about the track’s size.

"You know, I said before we tested here... having driven a stock car here... this is not a suitable track," said Dario Franchitti, Wheldon’s former teammate. "It's just you can't get away from anybody. There's no way to differentiate yourself, either car or driver, you're just stuck there and people get frustrated."

But Vegas Speedway President Chris Powell said he never heard such complaints.

Powell gave his first interview since Wheldon’s death, Monday in Las Vegas.

"We heard no qualms whatsoever from anyone at IndyCar that there were any concerns," said Powell. "Those are the kinds of conversations that are held between drivers, crew members, uh the sanctioning body. Ultimately, the sanctioning body is responsible for seeing to it that the facility, the venue, where that weeks race is, is suitable for racing."

Powell added that Wheldon’s death was a "very unforeseen and unfortunate circumstance" and that his track conformed to "every regulation that any sanctioning body has ever held it to."

When asked if and when he and his staff would re-examine the track and the kinds of races it was able to hold, Powell said those conversations would happen at a later time.

"We've got plenty of time to sit down with our partners at IndyCar to come up with any conversations that need to be had regarding the speedway and our partnership with IndyCar. We'll do that. We'll certainly do that. But today is not that time."

The Last Vegas Motor Speedway is no stranger to tragedy. According to Powell, the track’s first fatality happened in 1996 during its debut year and debut race.

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