Tony Renna

Tony Renna

23/11/1976 - 22/10/2003

Tony Renna was a rising star in Indy car racing who was killed in 2003 while tire tesing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Tony Renna was born in Apple Valley, California in 1976, the year after his family had moved from Tampa where Joe, a journeyman jockey in the late 1950s and early '60s, ran a meat company.

They moved back to Florida soon after and Tony began his racing career when he was 6, racing quarter midgets on the local tracks. He won 252 races in mini-sprints, go-karts, micro-sprints and quarter-midgets. He twice was national quarter-midget champion.

He won the Skip Barber Formula Ford Florida Series title as a high school senior at Father Lopez High in Daytona Beach and in 1996 was rookie of the year in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. He also raced in the Barber Dodge series in 1997 before joining the Indy Lights series in 1998.

He also raced in Formula 3 in England until he had to quit due to budget considerations.

By 2000 still racing in  Indy Lights, he had joined PacWest Racing, finishing fifth in the points as a teammate of Scott Dixon.

He made 7 starts for Kelley Racing in 2002 and 2003 in the Indy Racing League including the 2003 Indianapolis 500. His first race was on July 20th, 2002 when he replaced Al Unser Jr., who was in alcohol rehab after his arrest on July 9th. Renna filled in for Unser Jr. two more times in 2002, his best finish being a 4th at Michigan International Speedway. For 2003 he was sponsored by Kelley Racing in his own car run by Dean Kruse.

He had been signed to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2004 alongside Scott Dixon but on the morning of 22nd October 2003, Renna was doing tire testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was about 50 degrees outside and the track was nice and cool. On his 4th lap, at approximately 220 mph, he spun in turn three. The car got airbourne and flew into the catch fencing which was over the four-foot concrete wall. Renna died instantly of massive internal trauma, and was pronounced DOA at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

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