Dana literally worked his way up the racing ladder, taking a number of jobs to pay the rent, including wrking as a mechanic, a racing instructor and coach, and a marketing account representative while competing in various series. Dana earned a journalism degree from Northwestern and briefly covered racing for magazines such as AutoWeek and Sports Illustrated in 1997.
Dana, a native of St. Louis who lived in Indianapolis, finished second in the 2004 Indy Pro Series standings, with a victory at Milwaukee. He debuted in the series in 2003, finishing ninth in points. Dana moved up to the IndyCar Series with Hemelgarn Racing in 2005 but competed in only three races due to a season-ending back injury suffered in May during practice for the Indianapolis 500.
At the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Dana was driving the No. 17 Team Ethanol Honda Panoz Firestone car for Rahal Letterman Racing, when he was involved in a two-car incident in the practice session in preparation for the season-opening IndyCar Series race. Ed Carpenter's car spun high in Turn 2 and made contact with the outside wall just after 10 a.m. Five cars safely had passed Carpenter's car, which slid back into traffic after spinning out and bouncing off the wall, and five seconds had transpired when Dana collided with left-rear section of Carpenter's car going nearly 200 miles per hour. Dana went airborne as the nose of his No. 17 car pointed toward the sky after he rammed into the car near Turn 2. The impact nearly sliced Dana's car in half and scattered debris around the track until what was left of the vehicle landed on its wheels and skidded to a stop.
Both drivers were airlifted to the trauma centre. Ed Carpenter was listed in stable condition at the hospital but Dana succumbed to his injuries.