A heart attack by itself, no. That doesn't count against the event. Heck,
Denny Hulme, a former F1 world champion, died of a heart attack while racing
(and survived long enough to pull over).
But the one we are thinking of, at Irvine (Calif) was where the presumed
heart attack/stuck throttle ended with the driver going WAAAY off course. He
and his passenger impacted a tree limb with their helmets. At speed. Which
was the proximate cause of death. Myself, I have never actually seen a solid
confirmation of the heart attack, just that it was the most likely suspected
reason the driver went off course as far as he did with no apparent attempt
at correction. (Also note: open cockpit, rollbar, tree limb; a closed car
would have had a different result. I was at a road race once with a
precisely identical fatality. It was the reason I first put a full cage in
The spectator in Florida was the father Ethier mentioned, and was someone
who was heedless of his own safety after being told not to be where he was.
IIRC, that incident gave rise to the requirement that now photographers on
course must have spotters.
The other "maybe" I mentioned reportedly happened at an autocross on an oval
somewhere in the mid-south (Kentucky?), late '60s. Back then we did not have
instant Internet communication, so it may even have just been unfounded
rumor. I never did hear anything detailed on that one, but in 35 years it is
the only report (even rumor) I'd ever heard of a Solo fatality until the
Florida and Irvine incidents.
From: Andrew Schmiechen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Mdmotorsprt@aol.com <Mdmotorsprt@aol.com>; email@example.com
<firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com
<firstname.lastname@example.org>; team.net <email@example.com>
Date: Friday, July 27, 2001 9:38 AM
Subject: Re: Safety statistics
>Can you really relate a heart attack to Solo II safety? They may have been
>driving in a Solo, but the cause of death had nothing to do with the event.
>Just my thoughts.
>> From: Mdmotorsprt@aol.com
>> Reply-To: Mdmotorsprt@aol.com
>> Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 10:23:18 EDT
>> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
>> Subject: RE: Safety statistics
>> Bad Stats. Rocky is more correct: This year alone two deaths from heart
>> attack, years past that I know for sure: one driver AND a passenger.
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