It's hard to know if there is valid cause to say that IndyCar's new-for-2020 aeroscreen saved Rinus VeeKay's life last Friday night at Iowa Speedway, because it's impossible to know what would have happened had it not been there. This writer recalls several accidents in open-wheel racing where severe head trauma appeared a worryingly likely prospect, only for the driver to escape with nothing worse than a headache.
Among those that stick out are Patrick Tambay's Haas Lola launching over Martin Brundle's Tyrrell at the 1986 Monaco Grand Prix, and Nelson Piquet's Lotus in blinding spray running into the back of Piercarlo Ghinzani's Osella at Adelaide in 1989, jacking it up to where the Italian's car rode up the nose of the Lotus. Both Brundle and Piquet were left with tyre marks on their crash helmets.
At least when Bryan Herta's Reynard was mounted by Alex Barron's All American Racers Eagle at Road America in 1998, you could pretty much tell that Herta was OK, as Barron's car was propped up by the rollhoop on Herta's Team Rahal machine, leaving plenty of room for Herta underneath. But it's still a marvel that Helio Castroneves wasn't seriously injured when Alexander Rossi's Andretti Autosport car rode over the cockpit area of the Team Penske machine exiting the pits at Pocono in 2016.