Renna at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 2003
|Born||November 23, 1976|
|Died||October 22, 2003 26) (aged|
|Former teams|| Chip Ganassi Racing |
|Best finish||24th in 2002|
|1996||Team USA Scholarship|
Anthony James Renna (November 23, 1976 – October 22, 2003) was an American racing driver who competed in Indy Lights and the Indy Racing League (IRL) from 1998 to 2003. He began competitive racing at the age of six, winning 252 races and two national quarter-midget championship before the age of 15. Aged 16, Renna progressed to car racing, competing for three years in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, and partnering stock car driver Jerry Nadeau at the United States team for the 1996 EFDA Nations Cup, finishing second. He progressed to Championship Auto Racing Teams' developmental series Indy Lights, winning a solitary race during his three-season stint in the championship from 1998 to 2000.
Indy Lights is an American developmental automobile racing series sanctioned by IndyCar, currently known as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires for sponsorship reasons. Indy Lights is the highest step on the Road to Indy, a program of racing series leading up to the IndyCar Series. The Indy Lights series has been promoted by Anderson Promotions since 2014, which also manages the Road to Indy program.
The IndyCar Series, currently known as the NTT IndyCar Series under sponsorship, is the premier level of open-wheel racing in North America. Its parent company began in 1996 as the Indy Racing League (IRL), which was created by then Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George as a competitor to CART. In 2008, the IndyCar Series merged with the Champ Car World Series. The series is self-sanctioned by IndyCar.
Quarter Midget racing is a form of automobile racing. The cars are approximately one quarter (1/4) the size of a full size midget car. The adult size midget being raced during the start of quarter midget racing, used an oval track of one fifth of a mile in length. The child's quarter midget track is one quarter that length, or 1/20th mile.
In 2002, Renna signed with Kelley Racing to be its test driver in the IRL, and was actor and Infiniti Pro Series participant Jason Priestley's driver coach and spotter. He subsequently competed in seven races for Kelley Racing, before signing a contract to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2004 IndyCar Series. During an October 2003 tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Renna was killed instantly in a major collision with a retaining fence. He was the first driver to be killed in an accident in the IRL since Scott Brayton at the 1996 Indianapolis 500. As a consequence of Renna's death, car speeds and horsepower were reduced through a reduction in engine sizes. A memorial fund and IRL award were named after him.
Kelley Racing is a former Indy Racing League team founded by Fort Wayne, Indiana-based car dealer Tom Kelley that fielded a Delphi sponsored car for Scott Sharp during its entire existence from 1998 to 2004. The team was based in Indianapolis and captured 9 wins before shutting down when Sharp decided to leave the team with his sponsorship after a poor 2004 season. The assets of the team were bought by Tony George, who transformed it into Vision Racing.
In motorsport it is common to have one or more test drivers who work with the mechanics to help develop the vehicle by testing new systems on the track.
Jason Bradford Priestley is a Canadian actor and director. He is best known as the virtuous Brandon Walsh on the television series Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990–2000), also his role starring as Richard "Fitz" Fitzpatrick in the show Call Me Fitz (2010–2013) and for his role starring as Matt Shade in the Canadian series Private Eyes (2016–present).
Renna was born in Victorville, California on November 23, 1976,to Joe, the owner of a meat company and a jockey, and his wife Mary Renna. He has two sisters, Kathryn and Nicole, and is a cousin of George Steinbrenner IV, co-owner of Harding Steinbrenner Racing. The family moved to Apple Valley, California from Tampa, Florida in 1975 and Renna's parents subsequently divorced. His family later moved to the Orlando neighorhood of College Park, before residing in DeLand. He was educated at Bishop Moore High School, and Father Lopez Catholic High School, graduating from the latter in 1995. As a child, Renna was a batboy for the New York Yankees baseball team, and played American football, basketball and baseball. He was engaged to Debbie Savini at the time of his death. The two were due to marry in Hawaii on November 22, 2003.
Victorville is a city located in the Victor Valley of southwestern San Bernardino County, California. Its population as of the 2010 census was 115,903.
Harding Steinbrenner Racing was an auto racing team in the IndyCar Series formed from a partnership between Harding Racing, and Steinbrenner Racing for the 2019 IndyCar Series. They won two races at Circuit of the Americas and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with rookie driver Colton Herta. After the 2019 season, due to financial problems the team would be merged into Andretti Autosport, with the No. 88 entry being renamed to Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport.
Apple Valley is an incorporated town in the Victor Valley of San Bernardino County, in the U.S. state of California. It was incorporated on November 14, 1988, and is one of the twenty-two incorporated municipalities in California that uses "town" in its name instead of "city". The town is east of and adjoining to the neighboring cities of Victorville and Hesperia, 35 miles (56 km) south of Barstow, and 49 miles (79 km) north of San Bernardino through the Cajon Pass. The population was 69,135 at the 2010 census.
Renna began go-kart racing In Orlando at the age of six.He spent his Friday nights at Horsemen's Park in Ocoee, refined his driving ability at the local circuits in Barberville, Bithlo and New Smyrna Beach, and was taught by former driver Ralph Liguori. Renna focused full-time on racing after he deemed himself inadequate at playing Little League Baseball. He told his father of his choice of career, who asked him, "Do you know what you're asking for? Do you know you are asking for the brass ring and the Olympic gold medal?'". Renna began focusing on aiming for an opportunity in open-wheel racing, idolizing drivers Rick Mears, Al Unser Jr., and wanted to drive for Team Penske.
Kart racing or karting is a variant of motorsport road racing with open-wheel, four-wheeled vehicles known as go-karts or shifter karts. They are usually raced on scaled-down circuits, although some professional kart racing are also raced in full-size motorsport circuits. Karting is commonly perceived as the stepping stone to the higher ranks of motorsports, with former Formula One champions such as Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Ayrton Senna, Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso having begun their careers in karting.
Ocoee is a city in Orange County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 35,579. It is part of the Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Barberville is an unincorporated community in Volusia County, Florida, United States, located at the intersection of State Road 40 and U.S. 17.
He later went on to drive a quarter-midget, a mini sprint,a motocross bike, and a micro-sprint. Renna won 252 races, and two national quarter-midget championships before the age of 15. His mechanically-inclined father constructed and maintained the machinery he competed in, and acted as his crew chief. Renna's mother was his timekeeper and one of his sisters acted as a tire changer. Aged 16, Renna progressed to car racing, competing in the Skip Barber Formula Ford Racing Series in 1993. He went there with the ambition to become a road course ringer. Renna secured one win, seven top-three finishes for tenth in the final points standings. He improved the following year, taking eight victories and three second-place results to win the series championship.
A mini sprint is an American type of open-wheel racing vehicle. Mini sprint cars resemble the shape of a full-size sprint car and the size of a midget car. Although often used liberally to describe several different types of motorcycle-powered open-wheel racing cars, the term mini sprint actually applies to cars that have an upright-style chassis, a center-mounted 4-cylinder motorcycle engine with a displacement between 750 to 1200cc, and dimensions and appearance that are similar to today’s midget. Mini sprints are chain driven and use 13-inch (33 cm) wheels and tires.
Motocross is a form of off-road motorcycle racing held on enclosed off-road circuits. The sport evolved from motorcycle trials competitions held in the United Kingdom.
Sprint cars are high-powered race cars designed primarily for the purpose of running on short oval or circular dirt or paved tracks. Sprint car racing is popular primarily in the United States of America and Canada, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Jim O'Bryan, an employee of American driver development organization Racing for America, asked if Renna was interested in driving in Europe, to which he replied he was. Renna's father was unsure about this as the family budget was strained through entering selected rounds of the 1995 Barber Dodge Pro Series. O'Bryan met the Renna family again in mid-1995 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and agreed to compete in Formula Three, Renna tested a Ralt Formula Three car owned by a small team, Mark Bailey Racing. Team owner Mark Bailey was complimentary towards him. His father signed for Renna to drive for Murray Taylor Racing, until he pulled out due to budget concerns.Renna ultimately drove six races in a Dallara F394-Vauxhall for West Surrey Racing in the 1995 British Formula Three Class B Championship, securing a category win at Pembrey Circuit that was later nullified because of an infraction, a trio of pole positions and three podium results.
The 1995 Barber Dodge Pro Series season was the eleventh season of the series. Dodge replaced Saab as the series engine provider. 1995 was also the first season the series was sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing. All drivers used Dodge powered Goodyear shod Mondiale chassis. South African Jaki Scheckter won the championship.
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a road course auto racing facility located in Troy Township, Morrow County, Ohio, United States, just outside the village of Lexington. Mid-Ohio has also colloquially become a term for the entire north-central region of the state, from south of Sandusky to the north of Columbus.
Formula Three, also called Formula 3 or F3, is a third-tier class of open-wheel formula racing. The various championships held in Europe, Australia, South America and Asia form an important step for many prospective Formula One drivers. Formula Three has traditionally been regarded as the first major stepping stone for F1 hopefuls – it is typically the first point in a driver's career at which most drivers in the series are aiming at professional careers in racing rather than being amateurs and enthusiasts. F3 is not cheap, but is regarded as a key investment in a young driver's future career. Success in F3 can lead directly to a Formula 2 seat or even a Formula One test or race seat.
He returned to the United States with a depleted budget in 1996.Renna competed in a Dodge-powered Mondiale chassis in the 1996 Barber Dodge Pro Series, finishing seventh in the Drivers' Championship with 105 points from three podium finishes and two pole positions. He was named the 1996 Barber Dodge Pro Series Rookie of the Year, and the winner of Skip Barber Racing School Big Scholarship. Renna won the Team USA Scholarship over six other candidates and participated at the 1996 EFDA Nations Cup at Donington Park. Partnering stock car driver Jerry Nadeau in a Formula Opel Lotus, the duo finished second to win the silver medal. Renna was selected as a finalist for the Team Green Academy as one of the top five of twenty-five competing drivers, and was nominated for the Lynx Racing Scholarship.
He made a one-off appearance in the U.S. F2000 National Championship for DSTP Motorsports in its No. 23 Van Diemen-Ford car at Walt Disney World Speedway in January 1997, finishing ninth.Renna continued to race in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. He entered eight races, claiming three podium finishes and two pole positions to score 54 points and place tenth in the championship. Mattco Raceworks founder and owner Matt Cohen hired him in September 1997 to drive for its Indy Lights (at the time Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART)'s feeder series) team for the 1998 season. Renna moved from DeLand to a studio in New York City later that year to be closer to the team. He visited Mattco's headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey four days per week to acquaint himself with the team. Driving the No. 77 Lola-Buick car, he won at Michigan International Speedway, two pole positions, and six top ten finishes to place eighth in the drivers' championship with 68 points.
In April 1999, CART imposed a one-year suspension on Mattco Raceworks from all its racing series for illegal engine modifications in the car of Renna's teammate Mark Hotchkis. Renna, still contracted to Mattco, sought employment in either NASCAR's Busch Series (now Xfinity Series) or the Truck Series.Motor racing journalist Jeremy Shaw and the Team USA Scholarship made the PacWest Racing team aware of Renna's potential. He drove a partial 1999 Indy Lights schedule for PacWest, and was the test and development driver for its CART team. Renna drove the No. 17 vehicle to two top-ten finishes and a 16th-position finish in the drivers' championship with 22 points.
He returned to PacWest Racing for the 2000 Indy Lights, having signed a five-year contract in late October 1999,and continued as its test and development driver. Renna undertook a two-day test session at Firebird Raceway in December 1999 as preparation for the season. He changed his car number to 18. Renna was consistent in attaining top ten finishes during the season, doing so in every round except for two due to consecutive retirements: a mechanical failure at Milwaukee Mile and an accident in Detroit. Renna was fifth in the drivers' championship with 105 points.
Before the 2001 racing season,an agreement for Renna to drive for PacWest's CART team fell through, and he was released from its Indy Lights operation. Renna was less active in professional car racing during the year, making a solitary appearance in the SpeedVision World Challenge at Mosport International Raceway (now Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) in May. Driving the No. 12 SSC Parts/TC Kline BMW M3, he finished seventeenth and was 54th in the final standings with nine points. He spent much of the year seeking employment to race teams, visiting garages and writing letters to them, and undertook networking within the Indy Racing League (IRL). Renna was employed as a driving instructor at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Derek Daly Performance Driving Academy at, and competed in NASCAR late model stock car events for Dick Cobb every week at the track.
Kelley Racing team owner Tom Kelley and its general manager Jim Freudenberg were introduced to Renna in 2000. The two became acquainted with Renna, who enquired about employment at the team, signing a contract in May 2002.In mid-2002, Renna and his business manager suggested he should coach actor Jason Priestley, who raced in the developmental Infiniti Pro Series that year; Kelley Racing were enthusiastic over the idea and agreed. He also served as Priestley's spotter, and the two became friends. Renna was employed as Kelley Racing's IRL test driver, curtailing his stock car driving due to the focus on the job. Renna listened to Al Unser Jr.'s radio communication during races, learning patience, and serving as his spotter. When Unser went into an alcohol rehabilitation center in Connecticut following an assault on his partner that led to his arrest on July 9, Kelley Racing searched for a replacement driver for two events. They asked Renna to fill in for Unser because he demonstrated enthusiasm about the opportunity.
Under the observation of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford, Renna passed an IRL-sanctioned four-phase rookie test at Texas Motor Speedway, which allowed him to compete.In his first two races driving Kelley Racing's No. 7 Dallara-Chevrolet car in the 2002 Indy Racing League, he took consecutive top-ten finishes at Fairgrounds Speedway and Michigan International Speedway. After Unser returned from rehabilitation, the team expanded its roster to three cars because they were impressed at Renna's performance and obtained the necessary sponsorship to allow him to continue driving. He switched his car number from 7 to 78, and took a further two top-ten finishes to place 24th in the points standings with 121 points.
After the season concluded, Kelley Racing reduced its roster from three to two cars due to an increase in the team's budget, leaving Renna without a race seat;he remained an employee of the team. Renna continued to serve as Unser's spotter, and drove go-karts to maintain his fitness. With difficulty locating sponsorship to compete in races, restricting him primarily to being a test driver, he made a single race appearance in the 2003 IndyCar Series, the Indianapolis 500. Starting from eighth place, Renna finished one position higher in seventh. In Indianapolis, Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull noticed Renna and told team owner Chip Ganassi he was a driver to observe in later years. Ganassi called Renna in October 2003 to offer him a driving role for his team in the 2004 IndyCar Series, in place of Tomas Scheckter, who moved to Panther Racing, and to partner 2003 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon. Renna immediately accepted; Tom Kelley allowed him to leave on October 1 and join Chip Ganassi Racing since he could not guarantee Renna would drive for Kelley Racing in 2004.
Renna made his first on-track appearance for Chip Ganassi Racing in a private Firestone tire test session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 22. 227 mph (365 km/h). He lost control of the vehicle, without having made any prior collision against the trackside SAFER barriers, and it did not appear to have suffered a mechanical fault. He spun sideways, just after the turn's apex, and rotated 90 degrees to the left into the infield grass. Air penetrated the vehicle's bottom, causing it to lift as it skipped over the grass. As Renna slid sideways, he rotated approximately another 30 degrees to the left and travelled airborne.The track and the tyres on his car were cold. At 9:20 am Eastern Daylight Time (UTC−05:00), while on his fourth lap driving the team's No. 10 G-Force-Toyota car, he entered turn three below the normal racing line at
The bottom of Renna's car struck the outside retaining fence above the 4 ft (1.2 m) SAFER barrier at the exit to turn three, at more than 100 g0 (980 m/s2), a force that the human body is unable to withstand. destroying the car, splitting it into two, throwing its gearbox into the nearby grandstand, snapping the fence posts and scattering debris over the track and grandstand walkway. The first layer of grandstand in the track's south section was lacerated. Renna, who was wearing a HANS device, was killed instantly due to a massive internal trauma. No other person was injured. The cockpit tub that holds the driver inside the car was ensnared in the fence and dangled with Renna still in it. IRL medical personnel arrived at the scene and were unable to restart Renna's heart. He was transported by ambulance to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, about a six-minute drive, where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 9:43 local time.
Renna was the first fatality in the IRL since Scott Brayton was killed during practice for the 1996 Indianapolis 500, and the first in American open-wheel racing since Greg Moore died in a major accident during a CART race at California Speedway (now Auto Club Speedway) in 1999.An autopsy on Renna was conducted by Marion County Coroner John McGoff, who determined that Renna died instantaneously due to him sustaining fatal blunt force head and chest injuries from the high amount of force of the impact. On the afternoon of October 27, he was given a memorial service at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, and a second took place at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Deland, Florida four days later, attended by 400 people. Renna's place at Chip Ganassi Racing was assumed by Darren Manning.
The IRL began an investigation into his death the week after,involving officials from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Chip Ganassi Racing and Firestone. Because Renna's crash occurred during a private test session, there were no eyewitnesses, photographs or video footage of the accident, since the media and public were not allowed to enter Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The car was impounded at the track; the connectors on the its black box were severely damaged, rendering officials unable to download the on-board electronic data it contained. The black box was sent to its manufacturer in the United Kingdom. Officials downloaded the data stored in the car's accident data recorder to determine whether a mechanical failure contributed to Renna's crash.
The results of the investigation into Renna's death were released to the public on December 19, 2003. According to the report, the data provided to the IRL "did not produce a 100 percent conclusion as to why the tragic accident occurred. There are many unknown possibilities that could have contributed to the cause of the accident."The report focused on how the car lifted into the air, and the events surrounding Renna's death; the investigation was elongated because it happened during a private test session. The IRL concluded the spectator fences worked as designed, and the speed at which Renna was travelling at was similar to those monitored in accidents at the circuit in recent years.
Called "a rising star in motor racing" by Nilima Fox of The Independent ,Renna was described by Reggie Yates of The News-Sentinel as "a driver open-wheel fans wanted to see succeed." He was well-liked by individuals; Renna was described as quiet, tender-hearted, benevolent, a man who adored his family, energetic, enthusiastic, and vibrant.
As a consequence of Renna's fatal accident and major crashes involving fellow drivers Kenny Bräck, Hélio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran and Mario Andretti, the IRL mandated rule changes from the 2004 Indianapolis 500 onward with the intention to reducing power by ten percent—approximately 100 hp (75 kW)—and reduced speeds of around 10 mph (16 km/h). To facilitate the alteration, car engine sizes were reduced from 3.5 L to 3.0 L.
The Tony Renna Memorial Fund was established in Michigan to continue the driver's work based on his "approach to life of caring about others".It supports Autism Speaks, the Team USA Scholarship and the Surfrider Foundation through public donations. In January 2004, Father Lopez Catholic School renamed its annual golf tournament after Renna as a means of raising capital for the memorial foundation. That same year, the IRL renamed its Rising Star Award after Renna. The award is given to "an up-and-coming IndyCar Series driver who embodies the qualities of the late Renna".
|1995||British Formula Three Championship – Class B||West Surrey Racing||70||6||0||2||N/A||63||8th|
|1996||Barber Dodge Pro Series||N/A||N/A||12||0||2||N/A||105||7th|
|EDFA Nations Cup||United States||N/A||1||0||0||0||N/A||2nd|
|1997||Barber Dodge Pro Series||N/A||N/A||8||0||2||0||54||10th|
|U.S. F2000 National Championship||DSTP Motorsports||N/A||0||0||0||0||12||31st|
|1998||Indy Lights||Mattco Raceworks||77||12||1||2||0||68||8th|
|1999||Indy Lights||PacWest Lights||17||5||0||0||1||22||16th|
|2000||Indy Lights||PacWest Lights||18||12||0||0||0||105||5th|
|2001||SpeedVision World Challenge||SSF Parts/TC Kline||12||1||0||0||0||9||54th|
|2002||Indy Racing League||Kelley Racing||7 & 78||6||0||0||0||121||24th|
|2003||IndyCar Series||Kelley Racing||32||1||0||0||0||26||30th|
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1997||DSTP Motorsports|| WDW |
|1998||Mattco Raceworks|| MIA |
| LBH |
| NAZ |
| STL |
| MIL |
| DET |
| POR |
| CLE |
| TOR |
| MIS |
| TRO |
|VAN|| LS |
| FON |
|1999||PacWest Lights||MIA||LBH||NAZ|| MIL |
| POR |
| CLE |
| TOR |
| MIS |
|DET||CHI||LS|| FON |
|2000||PacWest Lights|| LBH |
| MIL |
| DET |
| POR |
| MIS |
| CHI |
| MDO |
| VAN |
| LS |
| STL |
| HOU |
| FON |
|2002||Kelley Racing||Dallara||Chevrolet||HMS||PHX||FON||NZR||INDY||TXS||PPIR||RIR||KAN|| NSH |
| MIS |
| KTY |
| STL |
| CHI |
| TX2 |
|2003||Kelley Racing||HMS||PHX||MOT|| INDY |
Champ Car was the trade name for Open Wheel Racing Series Inc., a sanctioning body for American open-wheel car racing that operated from 2004 to 2008. It was the successor to Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), which sanctioned the PPG Indy Car World Series from 1979 until dissolving after the 2003 season.
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The 1996 Indy Racing League, the first in the history of the league, consisted of only three races, as the season concluded in May with the 80th Indianapolis 500. Walt Disney World Speedway was completed in time to host the first race of the season, and the first ever event of the IRL, and Phoenix International Raceway switched alliances from CART to IRL and hosted the second event of the season. At the conclusion of the three-race schedule, Scott Sharp and Buzz Calkins ended up tied for first place in the season championship. With no tiebreaker rule in place, the two drivers were declared co-champions.
The 1996–97 Indy Racing League was the second season contested by the Indy Racing League. Tony Stewart was the champion, while Arie Luyendyk won the Indianapolis 500. The lengthy season was a result of the league abandoning the concept of ending each season with the Indianapolis 500. The 1996–97 season would ultimately consist of the two races that followed the Indy 500 in the calendar year of 1996, and all events contested in the calendar year of 1997. It also saw the introduction of a new chassis and engine package.
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Morris Nunn was an English motor racing team owner and engineer. He founded and ran the Ensign Formula One team in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and later worked for Chip Ganassi's highly successful Champ Car team, before founding Mo Nunn Racing for the 2000 season. At the urging of Mercedes-Benz Nunn again started a team for the 2002 Indy Racing League season. The team was sponsored by WorldCom and Hollywood (tobacco) and initially hired Tony Kanaan and Felipe Giaffone. Giaffone finished 3rd in the 2002 Indianapolis 500 and Kanaan was leading but crashed in the last laps. A third car driven by Jeff Simmons finished ninth. In 2002, Nunn entered one car each in Champ Car and the rival Indy Racing League. The IRL entry for Giaffone proved more competitive than Kanaan's Champ Car entry, encouraging the team to concentrate purely on IRL a year later. With Toyota and Pioneer backing, the former F1 driver Tora Takagi joined the team. He finished 10th in 2003, while Giaffone missed races because of injuries. He was replaced by Alex Barron, who won the Michigan race. For 2004, only one car was entered, for Takagi, whose performance was not impressive after a heavy crash at Twin Ring Motegi. Other than a joint effort with Fernández Racing at the 2005 Indianapolis 500, Nunn closed the team in 2005 and retired.
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| Fatalities in Champ Car/IndyCar|