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Anthony James "Tony" Renna[1] (November 23, 1976 – October 22, 2003) was an American race car driver who raced in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. He made seven starts for Kelley Racing in 2002 and 2003 including the 2003 Indianapolis 500. His best finish was fourth place at Michigan International Speedway in 2002. Renna signed to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2004 IndyCar Series season alongside Scott Dixon, but during an offseason tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 22, 2003, his car spun and became airborne, smashed into the catch fence and shredded apart. Renna died instantly.

Tony Renna
Tony Renna in May 2003.jpg
Renna at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 2003
NationalityUnited States American
BornNovember 23, 1976
Victorville, California, U.S.
DiedOctober 22, 2003(2003-10-22) (aged 26)
Speedway, Indiana, U.S.
Debut season2002
Former teamsTarget Chip Ganassi Racing
Kelley Racing
Starts7
Wins0
Poles0
Best finish24th in 2002
Awards
1996Team USA Scholarship

Indy Racing LeagueEdit

Renna was employed by Kelley Racing for two years from 2002–2003 in the Indy Racing League (IRL). His first race start came on July 20, 2002 when he was driving for Al Unser Jr., while Unser was in alcohol rehabilitation after his arrest on July 9, 2002. Renna filled in for Unser Jr. twice that season, and was then sponsored in his own car by Dean Kruse in the No. 78 Kruse Special car for Kelley Racing.

DeathEdit

On the night of October 21, 2003, the Ganassi crew was up late during the night getting Renna fitted for his new car that was driven earlier that day by his teammate Scott Dixon. The next morning, Renna was assigned to complete a tire test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On that morning, it was about 50°F (10°C) outside and the track was cool. On Renna's fourth lap he was driving approximately 218 mph (351 km/h) and spun out in turn three. While spinning, his car caught some air underneath the chassis, which lifted the car in the air, and into the catch fence, which was over the 4 ft (1 m) concrete wall. Renna died instantly of massive internal trauma, and was pronounced dead on arrival at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.[2]

Legacy: Ganassi Declines the No. 1 in Championship Years in INDYCAREdit

During the multiple day Firestone tire test, the Ganassi car had carried No. 1 for Dixon, and not the No. 10 that was intended for Renna's car. Renna's death in the No. 1 car that Dixon had driven during that tire test, and the team's subsequent winless season in 2004, led to the Ganassi team declining the No. 1 entitled to reigning INDYCAR champion in future championships won by Ganassi. Since then, each of Dixon's championships led to him retaining his No. 9, while during all Dario Franchitti's championships, the team has kept the No. 10. Ganassi only uses No. 1 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but they had taken on the car in their 2008 merger with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. (There are no reserved numbers in NASCAR for champions.)

It should be noted at the time of Dixon's title, four of the past five INDYCAR Series champions had declined No. 1 for marketing purposes, primarily because the team's number was associated with a team owner (such as 14 for A. J. Foyt, 91 for Ron Helmegarn, and 4 for Jim Harbaugh, who was part of the 2001-02 champion team, and wore that number for much of his NFL career, except in his final season when he wore No. 14 as a tribute to fellow INDYCAR team owner Foyt).

Motorsports career resultsEdit

Career summaryEdit

Season Series Team Car No. Races Wins Poles F/Laps Points Position
1998 CART Indy Lights Mattco Raceworks 77 12 1 2 0 68 8th
1999 CART Indy Lights PacWest Lights 17 5 0 0 1 22 16th
2000 CART Indy Lights PacWest Lights 18 12 0 0 0 105 5th
2002 Indy Racing League Kelley Racing 7 & 78 6 0 0 0 121 24th
2003 IRL IndyCar Series Kelley Racing 32 1 0 0 0 26 30th

American open-wheel racing resultsEdit

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Complete USF2000 National Championship resultsEdit

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pos Points
1997 DSTP Motorsports  
WDW
9
 
STP
 
PIR
 
DSC1
 
DSC2
 
SAV
 
PPI
 
CHA1
 
CHA2
 
MDO
 
WGI
 
WGI
31st 12

Indy LightsEdit

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Rank Points
1998 Mattco Raceworks MIA
DNS
LBH
12
NAZ
10
STL
22
MIL
5
DET
15
POR
12
CLE
5
TOR
21
MIS
1
TRO
20
VAN LS
8
FON
3
8th 68
1999 PacWest Lights MIA LBH NAZ MIL
3
POR
14
CLE
19
TOR
14
MIS
WD
DET CHI LS FON
6
16th 22
2000 PacWest Lights LBH
9
MIL
17
DET
17
POR
4
MIS
3
CHI
3
MDO
4
VAN
6
LS
4
STL
4
HOU
10
FON
3
5th 105

IndyCarEdit

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Rank Points
2002 Kelley Racing Dallara Chevrolet HMS PHX FON NZR INDY TXS PPIR RIR KAN NSH
10
MIS
4
KTY
7
STL
24
CHI
15
TX2
9
24th 121
2003 Kelley Racing HMS PHX MOT INDY
7
TXS PPIR RIR KAN NSH MIS STL KTY NZR CHI FON TX2 30th 26
Years Teams Races Poles Wins Podiums
(Non-win)
Top 10s
(Non-podium)
Indianapolis 500
Wins
Championships
2 1 7 0 0 0 5 0 0
Indianapolis 500 resultsEdit
Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
2003 Dallara Honda 8 7 Kelley Racing

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Anthony James "Tony" Renna". The Indianapolis Star. October 25, 2003. p. 20. Retrieved February 15, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. 
  2. ^ Wilson, Phillip B. (October 22, 2013). "Friends salute IndyCar driver Tony Renna 10 years after his death". Indianapolis Star. Indianapolis, IN. Retrieved 2013-12-21.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Greg Moore
Fatalities in Champ Car/IndyCar
2003
Succeeded by
Paul Dana