HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- IRL IndyCar(R) Series driver Paul Dana suffered fatal injuries Sunday in a crash during a practice run prior to the 300-mile IndyCar Series event on the Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1.5-mile oval track.

Dana, 30, a St. Louis native who lived in Indianapolis, was pronounced dead shortly before noon EST at Jackson Memorial Hospital, a Level 1 trauma center in Miami.

Driving the No. 17 Team Ethanol Honda Panoz Firestone car for Rahal Letterman Racing, Dana was involved in a two-car incident in a 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. Carpenter's machine then slid down the track's banking and was slowing when Dana's car struck Carpenter's car in the left-rear section at high speed.

Both Dana and Carpenter were airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital trauma center. Carpenter is listed in stable condition, according to Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services.

Dana was preparing for his first race with the Rahal Letterman Racing team after recording a career-high ninth place in Saturday's qualifying run.

"It is a black day for us, and on behalf of Rahal Letterman Racing, our sponsors and associates, our prayers and sympathy go out to the entire Dana family," said team co-owner Bobby Rahal, the 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner, yesterday. "This is a great tragedy. As a result, and in honor of Paul, we will not run the team's No. 15 (with driver Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indy 500 winner) and No. 16 (with driver Danica Patrick, the 2005 Indy 500 and IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year) cars in today's event."

Dana, who brought Team Ethanol sponsorship to the Indy Racing League in 2004, 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 in 2005 with Hemelgarn Racing, but competed in only three races due to a season-ending back injury suffered in May during practice for the Indianapolis 500.

"Paul was a very special guy," said David Vander Griend, president and CEO of ICM, a primary sponsor on the Team Ethanol car. "He demonstrated his belief in what ethanol can do for all of America through his racing. He helped us with so many things in bringing ethanol to the IndyCar Series. He will be missed tremendously. Our thoughts are with his family today."

SOURCE: Ethanol Promotion and Information Council news release.