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Old 04-27-2005
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A few Thoughts on Safety

As best I can tell self preservation (safety) in a race car depends on four factors.

The first is the driving talent of the chauffeur. Racers with lots of talent are less apt to get hurt than are those possessing lesser skills. The skill factor cannot be changed by anyone but the driver himself.

The second factor relating to driver safety is the car he (or she) is in. Some cars are clearly more crash worthy than others. Cars with fuel cells, cages, 5 point belts and padding etc. are clearly safer than those without. At the Skippy level the driver has little control over these features. I’d give the Skippy car a “B” for safety.

The third factor is the driver’s personal safety equipment. In the 60s NASCAR drivers were often seen doing laps wearing nothing more than an open face helmet and a “T” shirt. Today, even karters are required to wear full face helmets, gloves and protective suits. Race car drivers are, in most cases, required to wear rated helmets, head socks, gloves, as well as fire resistant suits and shoes. Usually most of these items are made with Nomex fire resistant fabric. Many drivers opt to add Nomex underwear, HANS devices and arm straps. This is the area where a driver has the most control over his well-being.

The fourth factor is the track design. No factor is more responsible for injuries and death than the physical attributes of the track. Track owners are rarely willing to spend money to lessen the chance of driver injury. Even if they are willing to spend the money, in most cases they are not capable of recognizing dangerous areas. They are not trained in physics, they’re trained in business. Most of the tracks we drive today are identical in almost every respect to the way they were decades ago. An example – the escape road at LRP. Almost all of us have been down it. If your brakes work the tangent works fine. If, however, you’re zooming along at 140MPH and discover you no longer have brakes, the escape road is lethal. Why? Because there is nothing there to slow you down. It’s either a sudden stop against concrete blocks, or the river. A tire wall (5 high, 2 deep and as wide as necessary) to span the track is needed. All tires should be bolted together. It would hurt, but not like the alternative! Tire “bricks” (5 high, 2 deep and 6 across bolted together) would also reduce potential injures and damage at the outside of turn #4 and under the bridge (right side) at West Bend. It’s all about riding the impact down over as long a period as possible. It’s basic physics.

Last summer Tom Baldwin was killed at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. Tom was an experienced modified driver with years of racing behind him. Tom died because the track manager decided to protect a relatively “soft” light pole with a very immovable Jersey barrier. Since his death no changes have been made. Track owners are businessmen and have no understanding of impact dynamics. This lack of concern will continue to injure both driver and machine. When deciding between a light pole or race car, they went with the light pole.

It is conjecture on my part, but I strongly believe that Jon Miller would have suffered far less severe injuries a few weeks ago had the Daytona staff installed a few tire “bricks” to soften the outer wall at the exit of the backstretch bus stop. Pushing a wall of tires that last 20 feet, could have only helped soften the impact. Instead, Jon impacted the wall at speed at a very steep angle.




So, there you have it, a few thought on safety. Over the last few years I have contacted by mail and phone K&K Insurance, track managers, track owners and anyone who I felt could make our sport safer. Maybe if you did the same deaths and injuries could be reduced.


OLDMAN

Last edited by OLDMAN; 04-27-2005 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 04-27-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Good observations. Though, honestly I think you're being to kind in giving the skippy car a "B" for it's saftey rating.

My crash has taught me lots of things, and one of the biggest was how naive I was. Don't misunderstand me though, I know that as a racer everytime I strap on my helmet and belt in that there is the possibility that something like this could happen. I think that's why my mom is having such a hard time with this whole thing (I'm sure seeing me in the ICU and then in surgury and then in the hospital for a full week after that didn't help), but she doesn't have the same kind of understanding of the danger that a racer does.

Anyway, my point about being naive was more about my experience level and about not recognizing the kinds of things that more experienced drivers would see. I havn't been racing very long. I did my 3 day a few summers ago, a couple race weekends during the next season, and then as many as I could make this season. That being the extent of my racing "career" I have no background in karting, I didn't pick this up from my dad (if anything, I'd have to say that I'm responsible for getting him into it!) so I don't have the kind of racers mind that many people do. Not that I should either! There's only so much that even the best racing books can teach you (and I've read many of them), there are just certain things that must be learned by being on track and seeing them and experiencing them.

I was naive in believing that the skippy cars are just as safe as any other racecar out there. I didn't understand that there is a huge difference in the way that a skippy car is constructed compared to a Mazda or a FBMW (which far outperforms the saftey sandards set for it). I understand that this is mostly an issue of cost, however I was still naive to the fact that most every racecar designed and built within say.. the last 10 years or so, are done so to stricter saftey standards then what the skip barber cars would likely hold up to (I'm saying this as a generalization, but I challenge anyone to prove me wrong). I know my accident was 1 in 1,000 (or more) but I can't help but wonder if my leg might have been spared if i didn't have a steering column sitting inches from either leg.

I was naive in believing that a track like daytona is just like any other track. This was my first experience driving at speed on a "roval" (road course + partial oval). I've been on track at homestead before, but homestead is setup actually pretty well for a roval. All of the danger spots have big gravel pits or runoff area, and you don't actually drive on any of the banking, just the straights. After talking with a few much more experienced racers about my accident, I was told that there are drivers in the Mazda sereis who will drive a whole season, but skip the races that are done on the rovals. The added speed and added danger of some of these tracks isn't worth it to guys much more experienced than me in the Mazda series? Wow, maybe I should have thought this through before coming to Daytona. But how is someone like me to know something like this? I was naive.

I was also naive when I thought that saying something to skippy/daytona crew about the big rut on the inside of the last apex of the bus stop would be pointless. I know many of you know what I'm talking about. If you came through there too wide in the middle, you were either doomed to ride over a big rut/drop on the inside of the last apex (which was one of the big factors that sent me out of control) or bail into the grass further to the inside. I hit this rut once before during practice and nearly spun then. The shock it sent through the car made me think the suspension had exploded. This is no small bump I'm talking about. It's a shame that now it's too late, but what would have happened if a group of us had approached skippy and said: "Look, that's not safe. Fix it, or we're not racing." Would it have made a difference? I'm not sure, but I was naive at the time to think that there was no point in mentioning it.

Just some things that I've been thinking about during my extended stay on the living room couch (during the commercials of course).
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Old 04-27-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Always a good topic guys.

The wall at the Daytona chicane will be addressed by our next time on the 24 Hour course for a race weekend. There are a few options already in discussion. Having watched Jon crash there, I've got more than a passing interest in what happens next there. Stay tuned.

Oldman, excellent overview of safety in the race car. It is always okay to tell track owners of your safety concerns. Some are not great listeners, but we gotta keep telling them. Some tracks are very good listeners and do the right thing.

Some tracks have terrain problems that prevent them from making modifications without spending millions. Road America's Kink comes to mind. Somehow, we all accept a certain level of risk.

Jon, your comments indicate a great maturation in your learning. Good for you, despite the cost of the learning. Yes, we can ask for ruts to get filled in. They will do it! And they did the evening after your crash (a few hours too late, I know). I did manage to get them to place some tires on the infield one year.

But you know what? The race car is still a safe place to be, relatively speaking. Street cars are made of tin foil, and how is it that so many people don't wear their seat belts???!!
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Certainly a good debate and a topic worth revisiting annually to address the current state of affairs.

Last summer I had 3 friends (one distant but good none the less, one a roomates's dad, and one a teammate) get seriously injured at Road Atlanta all within the same 3 turns. The scary thing about all three crashed it the common theme. In all three cases the driver took what would be a normal trajectory for a racecar, they all hit concrete at a greater then 45 degree angle (90 in one case), and in all three cases common sence in track design would have allowed the drivers to walk away. In 2 of these three cases the life of the driver was seriously threatened thought I am happy to report all have recovered well and are getting better daily.

The saftey of the skippy car has never been something I have thought was sub par. When crashing into other cars or soft barriers or rolling over repeatedly in the dirt it has proven itself time and again. The head protection is decent for a formula car, far better than a formula mazda, especially in the side impact department as seen here.
As long as the driver wears a HANS, full nomex with underwear, correctly TIGHENS THE BELTS!!, and fits the correct head rest the car is very solid.

The issues isn't the car but the barriers. These cars are not designed, nor should they need to be, to hit concrete walls at big angles. A new Formula Mazda isn't either and while the tub might hold up better it does little to reduce the impact of the driver against the internals of the cockpit, footbox and pedals, or the belts. The big issue comes down the tracks, but with no organized group of drivers little can be done. I have been thingking of organizing such group recently but I am not sure if I am the guy to be the poster boy at this point in my career. I am interested to hear some thoughts.

Last edited by cdh; 04-28-2005 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Great topic. Great place to host the debate and rally the troops. We have enough members on this site to use our 'voice' for some good.

If Spencer, or Oldman, or anyone else cares to lead the charge, count me in.
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

From Fitches webpage, More at

http://www.racesafety.com/index.html

Interesting stuff:

Gravel Traps

Lime Rock, Connecticut, August 11, 2000 - "Gravel traps on road racing courses should be paved over so drivers can steer, brake and recover" says veteran racing driver and barrier designer John Fitch. A new videotape produced by Fitch shows the ineffectiveness of gravel traps, the misuse of tire barriers and the deadly exposure to rigid walls in contemporary racing.
Fitch's conclusions are shared by a number of respected members of the racing community who are dedicated to the implementation of the Fitch-designed energy absorbing barriers and driver protection system. These advocates represent a spectrum of disciplines in engineering, medicine, vehicle dynamiics, journalism and three World Champion drivers. They include Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Carroll Shelby, Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, Paul Frére, Benny Parsons, Dr. Steve Olvey, William and Doug Milliken, John Goorsline, Brock Yates, Karl Ludvigsen, Chris Economaki and others.

Gravel trap incidents shown in the video include a car tripping and rolling in gravel at Spa, the Michael Schumacher injury at Silverstone, Hakkinen skating straight ahead in Germany and Gonzalo Rodriguez imperceptibly slowing while "gravel-planing" into a tire wall and the concrete barrier behind it at Laguna Seca.

All of the gravel trap incidents show cars that might have regained control but for the gravel traps. "When a driver gets into the gravel," says Fitch, "he becomes a passenger, unable to brake or steer. Schumacher could easily have turned away from the wall well within the radius F1 cars can negotiate on pavement, if not for the gravel trap. But instead his momentum carried him arrow straight across a wide gravel trap and head-on into the barrier with little loss in speed despite locked brakes. When Hakkinen blew a tire, he was unable to turn away, exactly as in Schumacher's case."

Fitch, who spent 30 years in the field of highway safety, notes that tests of gravel traps by the U.S. DOT (Transportation Research Record 1233) indicate a deceleration of only 0.5 G, or the rate of moderate braking for a passenger car. The full scale study determined that even this modest rate does not begin until the car has slowed to 50 mph. This compares to a 3 to 4 G braking capability for Formula One cars on a paved surface. Then there are the lesser problems of cars being eliminated from races due to damage caused by the gravel, or by simply getting stuck.

Both the Schumacher and the Hakkinen incidents also clearly show the inadequacy of the energy-absorbing capability of tire barriers for high speed, head-on impacts. The depth of tire walls is limited by the FIA to prevent them from bunching up under cars and vaulting them over the top. However, that results in abruptly arresting cars at intolerable rates. This is illustrated in the video beyond debate. The use of shallow tire walls as crash cushions for speeds over approximately 50 MPH will not arrest a car within a rate that will insure survival without serious injury, as Newton's Laws confirm.

Even more dramatic and equally convincing are the high-speed, high- angle impacts resulting in the counter-productive use of tires to face the surface of guardrails and walls. When tire walls are misapplied in this manner to function as re-directing barriers, they are penetrated locally and snag cars abruptly, imparting life-threatening G peaks. If this does not stop the car, it violently rejects and spins it across the track into traffic. This is not theory but is abundantly clear in repeated real-life scenes in the Fitch videotape.

In spite of the shortcomings of tire barriers, sanctioning bodies do not take them out because they do have a function when hit at low speeds - approximately 50 mph or less. They function best at low speed, high angle, head-on impacts- and when hit at any angle at low speed they lower the G-level and reduce car damage, which would not in any case be significant.

There are two basic types of barriers: one is the energy-absorbing crash cushion for high angle, head-on impacts. In the absence of an effective crash cushion, tire walls are used for the final arresting medium at the perimeter of gravel beds. However, as noted, tire walls lack the necessary depth to stop cars from racing speeds at acceptable rates. (A concept to replace tire walls in this application awaits development.)

The second type is the redirecting barrier (walls and guardrails) for shallow angle impacts whereby cars are forced into a parallel direction at lower Gs than stopping them would generate. In highway practice, the design objective is to locate redirecting barriers so they will not be hit at angles over 25-degrees. However, when hit at higher angles as in the case of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin, the consequences are devastating. (A design to reduce the initial G peaks upon impact with redirecting barriers is available.)

Though great strides have been made in modifications to the cockpit and cars themselves, Fitch remains convinced that the greatest opportunities lie in barrier innovation where Gs can be minimized over infinitely greater distances. However he believes his Driver Capsule design successfully addresses the two elusive challenges in biomechanics: the spatial stabilization of the helmet and upper torso to prevent shear forces acting on the neck, and the regulation of accelerations impinging on the helmet, thus reducing exposure to brain shock trauma.

Mr. Fitch is road racing's elder statesman and designer of energy-absorbing barriers for race courses and the highway. His invention, the yellow barrels in front of bridge abutments, have saved thousands of lives in 50 states over the last 30 years. At age 82, the former P-51 fighter pilot is still racing, and drove a Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster at last year's Labor Day vintage races at Lime Rock, Connecticut. The following weekend he received The Cunningham Sportsmanship Award at Watkins Glen from the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association. At Goodwood in June, he drove the '52 Mercedes he raced in the Panamerica and is entered in the Laguna Seca Historics in August.
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Spencer:
To your point about the belts being tight. In the skippy cars, I have found only two options with the Hans device: [a] Regular strapping, but no matter how tight, the belt often slides away from the Hans reducing its effectiveness to zero; [b] crossing the belts, that keeps the belts over the Hans but the belts are not as tight as they should be. I use both options; it depends on the track. Any alternate suggestion?
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

I am in too. We might want to start with Lime Rock. Bob's note reminded me of Cole Nelson last year going straight thru the LRP turn 1 run-off into the river. That was a scary sight from where I was standing at the flag station. I am not sure that I can contribute much to the technical aspect of the safety question, but I certainly will be happy to provide vocal support.
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom Bastien
Spencer:
To your point about the belts being tight. In the skippy cars, I have found only two options with the Hans device: [a] Regular strapping, but no matter how tight, the belt often slides away from the Hans reducing its effectiveness to zero; [b] crossing the belts, that keeps the belts over the Hans but the belts are not as tight as they should be.
Does everybody have problems with their HANS in the Skippy cars? Sometimes I think I'm the only one whose belts never slip off...
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

JP56, Your article is a great find. I would love to see some of the suggestions put to use at LRP. I had no idea Fitch did so much with highway safety.
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

My HANS stays securely installed every time. I've posted HANS fitting in the Skippy car on Juicy before, but here it is again.

1. First tighten the lap belt as tight as humanly possible. Remember to pull the strap forwards and backwards as you pull it toward your hip, this helps get the last few webs to tighten.

2. Next place the shoulder belts as far to the inside (toward your neck) as possible. Do one initial pull of each belt to snug them somewhat, then using your hands, pull both belts again toward your neck.

3. Now, you will tighten each shoulder belt, alternatively. Each time you pull down and release, use your hands to re-align both belts as close to your neck as possible. Then pull the other belt. Re-align. Pull the first, re-align, pull the second, re-align, continuing until it just won't tighten anymore. It is very important to re-align the belts toward your neck each time you pull.

4. As you tighten the shoulder belts and re-align, make sure that the belt falls over the inside forward edge of the neck yokes (the ends closest to the center of your sternum).

5. Taller drivers have a harder time fitting the HANS than shorter drivers.

That's what I got. If you want, I'd be happy to help any of you with your fitting process to make sure you are doing it right the next time we are at the track together. Just ask.
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

A thought:

What if high speed run-off areas like the Corkscrew and LRP Turn 1 have a net system, like a series of tennis court nets (of stronger construction) to gradually arrest the speed of the car, then relax tension to avoid spitting the car back on track? With enough research and testing, a system could be designed that would be easy to "reset" using the same netting, up to a given life-span of doinks decided by engineering and design.

Crazy?
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Kind of like a catch fence for downhill racers. I think you are on to something here.


Got to try your hans trick. thanks.
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Re: HANS and Skippy belts. The first few times I used the HANS device I had problems with slippage because I wasn't sure where the belts should be and how tight to make them. Since learning the right placement and very snug belts (just short of breath restriction) I've had absolutely no problems. (And for the record I'm 5' 11" and weigh about 173).

Re: Tire barriers. There is one affective variation of the tire barrier (Used at LRP) that has not been mentioned. At west bend and the downhill there are tire stack barriers that are cabled together and covered on the track facing side with a thick rubber membrane. The entire barrier is then pulled out from the guard rail or wall a few feet to allow the heavy flexible mass of cabled rubber and tires to catch and decelerate a car at rates that will do considerable damage to the cars while allowing drivers to walk away. (Of which I'm living proof) The membrane is firm enough to deflect a car at a low angle to the barrier without "snagging" it and spinning both the car and tire stack back onto the track. It's really a low-tech version of the "Safer" barrier used by NASCAR. The best part about a cabled tire barrier is that after a serious impact you just hook a tow truck to it and pull it back out away from the wall or guard rail a few feet and you're good to go again.

Re: Gravel traps
What doesn't get addressed in John Fitch's argument against gravel traps is the scenario where a car, through contact or mechanical failure, loses brake capacity at high speed (Like Cole Nelson's LRP incident) and can't be stopped or slowed. Sand traps are affective because they create a gradual "bog" zone where all who enter are gradually decelerated. If a driver loses consciousness during an impact, or the brakes fail, the driver is immediately rendered a passenger anyway. My odds are better flipping in a gravel trap than auguring straight into a wall at warp speed.

Gravel traps are a royal pain in the ass to track owners, car owners and especially drivers but the argument can also be made that they are the least expensive highly effective situational barriers out there. As a driver, I'd much rather be in control of my vehicle but if its a choice between living to fight another day with sand and gravel down my Sparco or spending months in the hospital or worse... it's not a hard choice.

Re: Catch fencing. If they can stop and catch fighter jets on a carrier deck without damaging them why can't they do the same with race cars? :-) My bet is someone will figure out how to do it and we'll suddenly see cheap highly effective catch fencing everywhere and wonder why it wasn't figured out sooner. Or we'll be dragging catch hooks behind us. :-)

Last edited by dalyduo; 04-28-2005 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 04-28-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Catch fences and gravel traps produce great delays. The big advantage of tire walls (like the one in the downhill) is the short amount of time needed to get it back into shape.

OLDMAN
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Old 04-29-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Gravel traps are dumb! I can't think of a gravel trap at any track in this country that is doing anything productive. They do not stop cars that are going fast (ask Rich Grupp or watch the Scumacher crash Fitch is refering too, or ask Ryan Eversley about his loss of brakes at Homestead or...). They do stop cars that could otherwise continue. They make a mess of the track when a car returns. They cause cars to flip and roll. They allow roll hoops to dig into thier surface transfering the weight of the car to the drivers neck after causing a roll. They have needlessly killed at least one driver! What are you afraid of hitting at the other side? The answer is really the problem... an ineffective barrier.


Catch fencing should be everywhere but it should be above the real barrier. Catch fencing on the ground level was tried years ago with no success. Cars would stop and get caught in the middle making it tough to get tow trucks to. The VIR style tire barrier is ideal for rapidly slowing cars coming off the race track at big angles. Tennis nets are not needed if the tire wall is done correctly. The best thing about the tire wall besides the perfect effectiveness when done right is that they are for the most part already there. They just need adjusting. I think VIR has led the way in this area. They had traditional tire walls at first and now have teired systems that can be hit and reset later at the end of the day. Lime Rock's tire walls are too thick and the one single section is too long. They do not give enough and have the effect of directing the car under the wall. With sufficient give this could not happen. In other places the tires are still stacked, a practice that most tracks abandoned 10 years ago.

Also keep in mind that Finch's writing is 5 years old. He wrote this before the boom of saftey that resulted in Earnhardt's 2001 death.
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Old 04-29-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Great stuff, but can the guys on the forum really do much to influence race track barrier design? I'm pretty sure that we can have an influence on the safety design of the cars we race in, though, specifically the Skippy car.

In the very few years (2) I've been racing with Skippy, I've seen (and felt, ouch!) a lot of the accidents and their results, and I've been very impressed with the skippy car. When you consider how many cars are out there running per year (and the corresponding number of crashes), the number of injuries and especially the level of severity, is very low. Skippy runs somewhere around 36 race weekends per year, with an average of 3 or so groups with 12 or so drivers in each group. Plus add in all of the lapping days, the school days, the advanced 2-days, etc etc. That's a lot of crashes.

That being said, however, there is always the need to improve. From what I have seen, these are the most important things that need to be done (some immediately and some in the new car):

1. A taller and fully covered roll hoop for the taller drivers. We should do this right now, btw. No need for a new car to do it. Also, higher mounting points for the seat belt harness for the AS and A size cars.

2. Overall side impact strength is great, but a tube frame chassis still has too many openings for penetrations. A composite tub will cure this in the future car, and a composite 'sheet' run alongside the current car's tube frame may work for now.

3. Get rid of that steering column in the driver's foot box in the new car. We know about Jon's accident, but also in MPowa's accident, which was one of if not the most violent I've heard of in the past 2 years (t-boned @ 90 degree angle at 100+ mph) he would have walked away without any injury if the column wasn't there. Even still, his injury was minor. In the current car, maybe we can pad the column.
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Old 04-29-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Your strongest argument is that good barrier technology in most cases makes gravel traps obsolete. No argument they are a logistical nightmare for everyone and have their own special limitations and hazards. The only legitimate question (which is unanswerable) is how many more lives would have been lost or seriously injured if they had never been used. I defer to those with more pracitical race experience than I (almost everyone) but in the end, the advancement of safety technology only occurs when people die and/or the cost comes down. As mentioned in the HANS thread, if a HANS cost $50 bucks, every helmet manufacturer would include one with every helmet and there would be no discussion about mandating them.

I believe it was Jackie Stewart who first took a stand in F1 and organized drivers to bring about significant safety upgrades. It's more than a worthy cause to continue this discussion for the purpose of making the sport safer for all of us. Nascar has poured a ton of money into safety because they realize that killing and injuring drivers damages business. That holds true at all levels of the sport.

My first thought would be a "Safer" type hard barrier at the LRP uphill. Wonder what that would cost?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Sexy
Gravel traps are dumb! I can't think of a gravel trap at any track in this country that is doing anything productive. They do not stop cars that are going fast (ask Rich Grupp or watch the Scumacher crash Fitch is refering too, or ask Ryan Eversley about his loss of brakes at Homestead or...). They do stop cars that could otherwise continue. They make a mess of the track when a car returns. They cause cars to flip and roll. They allow roll hoops to dig into thier surface transfering the weight of the car to the drivers neck after causing a roll. They have needlessly killed at least one driver! What are you afraid of hitting at the other side? The answer is really the problem... an ineffective barrier.


Catch fencing should be everywhere but it should be above the real barrier. Catch fencing on the ground level was tried years ago with no success. Cars would stop and get caught in the middle making it tough to get tow trucks to. The VIR style tire barrier is ideal for rapidly slowing cars coming off the race track at big angles. Tennis nets are not needed if the tire wall is done correctly. The best thing about the tire wall besides the perfect effectiveness when done right is that they are for the most part already there. They just need adjusting. I think VIR has led the way in this area. They had traditional tire walls at first and now have teired systems that can be hit and reset later at the end of the day. Lime Rock's tire walls are too thick and the one single section is too long. They do not give enough and have the effect of directing the car under the wall. With sufficient give this could not happen. In other places the tires are still stacked, a practice that most tracks abandoned 10 years ago.

Also keep in mind that Finch's writing is 5 years old. He wrote this before the boom of saftey that resulted in Earnhardt's 2001 death.
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Old 04-29-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by sydude
3. Get rid of that steering column in the driver's foot box in the new car. We know about Jon's accident, but also in MPowa's accident, which was one of if not the most violent I've heard of in the past 2 years (t-boned @ 90 degree angle at 100+ mph) he would have walked away without any injury if the column wasn't there. Even still, his injury was minor. In the current car, maybe we can pad the column.
Be wary of speculation like this, impossible to say what would have happened if the steering column was relocated in a crash like mpowas, but if relocated it might allow for left foot braking, which would be interesting. Also, we all know mpowa was extremely lucky he wasn't t-boned mid-car, the outcome would have been very different, steering column or not, I shudder to think.

Pave the gravel traps, we're seeing it at some tracks already and it makes for safer racing.


.
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Old 04-29-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdh
we all know mpowa was extremely lucky he wasn't t-boned mid-car, the outcome would have been very different, steering column or not, I shudder to think.
You are correct, sir. He was very very lucky. The thought of it being a mid-car impact made me raise my second point. But it still gives me the heebygeebies when I think about it.
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Old 04-29-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Ok, wow. That's all I have to say after watching this impact.

I think I see now what you all mean about sand traps not helping at high speeds... but damn, we need to get some of these barriers installed at the tracks we race on! Anyone have any idea which track this is, I havn't raced at a ton of places and don't recognize it.

www.big-boys.com/articles/nascarcrash2.html
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Old 04-30-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Holy crap! It is unbelieveable that he walked away. Also bizarre that you don't see any safety vehicles on the scene when he climbs out!

Spencer might have more to say about barriers tonight or tomorrow. After pulling the 10th fastest lap time this afternoon, his (our!) car lost its ABS... seems a wrench was left in the car by Motec when they put the system in. It stuck to the ABS magnet and shorted the system.

Spencer was headed into turn 2 at Laguna... expecting ABS... full lock... etc... hit the tire barrier pretty hard. He is ok. Sore back.

Car is iffy for practice... expected to be ready for qualy... fingers crossed... may have been an expensive 1/2 hour in the car!
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Old 04-30-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

The barrier at Laguna was perfect. I hit at a bit of an angle, right by a break in the tire row. There was a gap, then a second row, and then a gap before the wall. The car went through the first wall and into the second. It's on video. I do have a sore back but it was a soft hit for the speed. I figured I needed more real world experience to bring to the debate.
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Old 04-30-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

A few things worth noting about barrier design:
  1. Protecting the driver is not the number one design goal. Protecting spectators by keeping errant cars --or their remaining pieces-- "in bounds" is in fact of primary importance.
  2. The barrier has to be durable enough so that the track owner isn't spending a fortune every time one of us idiots missing a brake point in the heat of battle.
  3. And just to make matters worse, a solution that works well for one class of cars may be totally ineffective for another. Gravel traps are a case in point. I doubt a skippy car topping out at 120 MPH would skim all the way through the massive gravel traps of a modern day F1 circuit, but 190 MPH F1 cars managed to do so with distressing regularity.
None of this is meant to put a damper on the discussion of what can be done to improve the safety situation for drivers --I'm all for it!!! But we need to be realistic about the fact that track owners have more than just driver safety in mind. We can bitch all we want, but if a solution doesn't meet the above criteria at a reasonable cost, it's not going to fly, no matter how much driver safety improves as a result.

I do wonder what it would cost to put in SAFER barriers at some of Lime Rock's more dangerous corners, at the Kink at Road America, or at the exit of the chicane at Daytona, for that matter. Of all of the technologies that have been devised for relatively high speed crashes in confined areas where runoff is not an option, it seem --from a distance, at least-- to be the best solution. But for all I know, the price tag is such that it is out of reach for any track that isn't pulling in 100,000+ spectators twice a year for a NASCAR show.
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Old 04-30-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonMiller
Ok, wow. That's all I have to say after watching this impact.

I think I see now what you all mean about sand traps not helping at high speeds... but damn, we need to get some of these barriers installed at the tracks we race on! Anyone have any idea which track this is, I havn't raced at a ton of places and don't recognize it.

www.big-boys.com/articles/nascarcrash2.html
That's turn one at Watkins Glen, and a situation where the runoff area and its surface wouldn't have made a bit of difference because of the way the car launched into the air as it crossed the track and only briefly contacted the gravel trap before impacting the barrier. The straight leading to that turn is a downward slope that continues all the way to the barrier.

It was a similar type of impact at Turn 5 (which also slopes away from the track at the end of an even longer straight) that broke both of Tommy Kendalls legs and later killed JD McDuffie. The speeds achieved were too fast for the slope and runoff area if a brake failure occured so they installed the bus stop chicane to lower the entry speed into corner 5 and added the styrofoam block barriers around the track.

At the time of the accident shown in the clip, Nascar still allowed racing back to the checker before a full course yellow took affect and emergency vehicles could start rolling. That's why you don't see any emergency vehicles with him. He popped out of the car before they got to him.
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Old 04-30-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Sexy
The barrier at Laguna was perfect. I hit at a bit of an angle, right by a break in the tire row. There was a gap, then a second row, and then a gap before the wall. The car went through the first wall and into the second. It's on video. I do have a sore back but it was a soft hit for the speed. I figured I needed more real world experience to bring to the debate.
Going the extra mile (followed by rapid deceleration) for research once again. Glad your OK and the barrier worked. Hope the car and your back are ship shape for racing tomorrow. We look forward to seeing the video. Good Luck!
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Old 04-30-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

When will the race tomorrow be shown on TV? Or will it be shown at all?
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Old 04-30-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Six years ago I decided to do a few 360s in the downhill at LRP. It all happend in an instant on the first lap of the first race on the morning after a big rain. What I discovered in those couple of seconds is that wet grass does little to slow down a race car headed for the wall.

Back in 99 the outside (and inside) tire walls at #7 at LRP were nothing more than two rows of loose tires located right next to the ARMCO. Maybe once a year the staff would wander into it (amid a zillion mosquitos) and repack it. I had often thought about how inadequate the wall was, but felt there was really nothing a pretender like myself could do to get it changed. Now (then) I found myself headed toward that same inadequate barrier. It was a feeling of total helplessness as I spun in a cloud of tire smoke and who knows what toward ARMCO padded with what was the equivalent of the feather Wil E. Coyote always falls on. Unlike Wil E., I knew I would break.

Luckily the car did not go in nose first (which is what I was hoping for all the way in). I did manage to break 3 ribs and got my bell rung pretty good. My nose still bleeds from the event. I was a mess for a couple of months.

In that time I decided to get a little more vocal when it came to issues about my (and others) safety. I contacted K&K insurance, I had a number of discussions with them. The VP I spoke with was not even aware that 3 persons had died at LRP in the few years prior to my accident. I was at the track for 2 of the deaths. One was a Skippy driver, Tony Monk, who died in the uphill. I also contacted the track manager, Skip himself, and anyone who would listen regarding what I considered inadequate barriers. I even tried to bribe Sid in case he had any pull with the powers in charge.

In all honesty I don't know if anyone was even listening or cared. I do know, however, that since my event both the inside and outside walls at both West Bend and the Downhill have received new and far better impact barriers. Many of today's racers probably thought those walls had been there since 1956, they were not. Maybe I had some influence, maybe not, but I tried. And like chicken soup, it can't hurt!

So maybe if we are vocal enough and persistent enough we can prevent guys like Jon from getting injured or killed in the future.

OLDMAN
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Old 04-30-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Dom if you send your Hans back to the company they will install a non-skid layer on the top of the harness which is standard on the new ones which have a lip on the back edge to prevent slippage. I also put a small velcro strap(1/4") between the padding and the harness yoke to hold the belts on tbe device. DONOT use anything wider as the velcro must be able to rip if you need to make a hasty exit. Mur
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Old 05-01-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Murray & Gerardo, thanks for the suggestions and advice. Will follow up on them. Dom.
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Old 05-02-2005
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Fixing the safety barrier problem

Why not start a foundation dedicated to the better design and placement of safety barriers at tracks across America. How is this issue addressed in professional racing? Regardless, a dedicated effort to address this issue at tracks frequented by amateur racers in the Skip Barber series might provide focus to get things started. What could the foundation do right away?

1- Professional review of existing barriers at tracks we race, with recommendations for improvements. Develop a top ten list of places that either need barriers where they don’t currently exist or need upgrades where barriers exist but are deficient.

2- Raise money to conduct the above study and to initially buy and install barriers at the tracks. Cost of routine maintenance would have to be supported by the tracks but cost to repair damage to barriers would be charged to drivers who crash.

3- Longer-term, the foundation could work on development of new technology related to barriers and driver safety.

This is an oversimplified view of what might be done, but I'm convinced that there is enough money and expertise in amateur racing to make this happen. Of course, it would be better if the tracks did this themselves, but it hasn't happened yet so why not push?
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Old 05-02-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Tim Hoagland asked me to post this on his behalf:


Hi Sy,
 
You asked me to write about my experience wearing a Hans device last year at the Glen. Sorry it took so long, but I've been reading the discussions on Team Juicy's site about Track Safety and the Skippy cars as of late and wanted to cover all 3 topics at once.
 
You personally convinced me to buy a Hans Device August of 04'. I wore it for the first time Sept. of 04' at the Glen. I had two big accidents within 24 hours. Both at turn 10. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Turn 10 is a high speed left-hander with a high curb on the exit. The first accident I got up on the exit curb but didn't panic. I kept my foot in it to try to "drive thru it" as we've all come to learn. The car got high sided like a top as it's a very tall curb. The left rear caught the curb and pitched me immediately to the right. There is a large gravel trap on the other side of the curb bordered by approx. 15' of grass & ending with a styrofoam wall. When a moment like this arrives, time always seems to slow down and you see milliseconds play out like a feature length movie. Not this time. It happened so fast, I never even got to the brake. The car skipped twice over the gravel trap like a stone across water, through the grass and ended head on in the styrofoam wall. Phil Lombardi was working the corner and estimated my speed at impact at 100 mph.  I learned afterwards that Phil was immediately on the radio telling them to "roll medical" and that the impact was so hard that it was heard by many others half way round the track. The impact threw the car about 15' back towards the track and I was left pointing 180 degrees from the wall that I had just visited. I walked away. The next day, I had a similar moment when I got back up on the same curb. ( hey, give me credit okay? at least I wasn't going to let the first one slow me down right? ) I got OFF the gas this time & went across the track into THAT styrofoam wall....at big speed. The driver behind me described the subsequent styrofoam "shower" as something truly awe-inspiring.  I walked away. Again. Both times without even a sore back or other pains, not even a headache.....a few bruises was all. Lucky? I think it was more than that.
 
Now, compare this to my accident at LRP May of 03' in the downhill. No Hans this time. I missed the apex and went wide. Hey, it happens. Kept my foot in it and completely stradled the curb. No big deal right? Except just like the Glen, the left rear tire caught the edge of the curb and it pitched the car across track towards the wall. I was immediately at full lock up. London has never seen such haze. But it's a short trip across track ( my speed when I got to the brakes was somewhere between 90 and 100 ) and I figure I scrubbed maybe 15 to 20 mph off before getting on the grass. The grass speeds you up however and I'm sure I found a few additional mph before impact. I hit almost head-on. It was my worst accident in more than 5 years of being involved in the sport. Including the "twins" at the Glen.  I couldn't get out of the car it rang my bell so bad. The shock and energy from hitting the tire wall went from my toes to my head. It hurt. I had pelvic &  hip problems for several months afterwards that precluded me from racing till October. My belts were very tight and I didn't submarine at all.  I know that is why my pelvis hurt so badly. The car was a mess to say the least. But I'll sum up both accidents from my vantage ( note I didn't say "advantage") with the following.
 
The Hans device might have saved my life at the Glen. Not to be dramatic about it, but I'll never know for sure as I'm not dead.  Remember, not even so much as a headache after going unabated, straight into a wall at 100 mph.  If ever there was an accident that the device was designed to protect against, this was the one. Anyone not wearing a Hans when racing is just plain stupid or cheap. You can't teach stupid. If cheap, it's a shame they don't value their life more than the price of a Hans. I'm a convert obviously. Let me take a moment to thank you personally Sy for convincing me in the first place to get one. I hope someone will read this and do the same.

Now some thoughts on track safety.  There is one device that works above all others and that is styrofoam. The car damage ( $ ) was more than TWICE the amount at LRP as it was at the Glen. At LRP the car & myself were "framed".  Not so at the Glen. At LRP this particular corner could be made infinitely safer by two things.....1. Get rid of the grass on the inside of the turn. How stupid is it to have a material that is going to accelerate a car prior to impact? Enough said. And don't put in a gravel trap there. I agree with the observations of others who condemn them. At least at this particular turn ( I believe the material & design will vary by track and corner ) it should be asphalt so you can continue to scrub speed before impact. Divy at the end of the 2003 season said they were looking to make the change, but it never materialized unfortunately. 2. At the very least, at any high speed corner, styrofoam should be incorporated wherever feasible as it works much better than a traditional tire wall based upon my unfortunate experiences.

Lastly, Skippy car "integrity". For what these cars are made of and their design, I believe it speaks VERY well to their stoutness. Witness my descriptions of the accidents above. They have protected me in various accidents over the years without so much as a broken bone. Jon had a bad experience at Daytona for sure and was not as fortunate. He had several different circumstances conspire against him to produce the very unfortunate result based upon what I read. Some of which could have been mitigated, witness the rut he describes. Many factors come into play in an accident. We can't control all of them of course. But as drivers we can do our part to try to minimize the risk. That means wearing the proper equipment & being vocal about track safety with proper feedback. I will defend the Skippy car safety quotient regardless of what others might say. Remember the old adage that speed costs money and so does safety. The cars could be made safer but at what price? A totally new car? Something to ponder. Skip Barber is very receptive to driver/customer concerns or complaints and strives to put on a good show. The best RESULTS in driver safety will come from improvements made to racing venues themselves in my opinion. You cannot eliminate all of the risk, it's racing for cryin' out loud. But it can be minimized. I don't want to see the great tracks emasculated. LRP is a great track and I consider it a favorite along with the Glen. But like the owners of the Glen have proven, there ARE reasonable ( $ ) changes  & updates that track owners can make WITHOUT removing the fun factor.
 
Everyone is a fan of the sport at Team Juicy. Smart, insightful and above all else, enthusiastic. Skip Barber listens when you speak. It would be beneficial if you formed a  "safety" committee perhaps, designated a spokesperson and worked WITH the company to get your voice heard. You might want to engage the guys in the Skippy Master's Nationals too. Older drivers, with more experience that want to contribute to the sport would be helpful. Dick Lippert is very enthusiastic and I nominate him to be the spokesperson of their group to work with a Team Juicy Spokesperson to get your voices heard. It's not enough to complain is it?Better to try to have a solution and make a difference. Your opinions would be taken seriously by Skip Barber and hopefully by the track owners themselves. Just a thought.
 
My best regards to everyone that is part of the Skippy racing world, be it employee or customer. See you at the track in the near future.
 
Tim Hoagland 
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Old 05-02-2005
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Re: Fixing the safety barrier problem

Hey Tim!

Thanks for taking the time to share with such compelling harrowing detail your testing of those Skippy frames and HANS device at the Glen and frames at LRP. Your comments are spot on, especially regarding a thoughtful unified safety committee and voice with the input of experienced Nationals. It would no doubt carry sway with the company and many of the racetracks we inhabit. Your suggestion of partnership over adversarial relationship is also wise.

The problem is that while our voices and those of SBRS may have sway at a particular track, ultimately they and we don't have a lot of leverage.

Expanding on Steve's idea for a safety foundation, it would have to be supported and mandated by most if not all major racing sanctioning bodies.

Currently tracks can divide and conquer by saying "The SCCA and (insert your favorite sanctioning body here) don't have a problem with that barrier so why should I listen to you? (And then turn around and use the same argument with the SCCA if they complain, using the other group’s names) But if there is a unified safety organization that represents drivers of all of the sanctioning bodies, you have effectively removed the wiggle room of divide and conquer.

Without a majority of sanctioning bodies behind your safety foundation it would be easier for a track to jettison Skippy or any other single group as a customer than spend all or part of their fee updating safety barriers. We (the drivers) need a wider base from which to leverage.

If I were doing it, first I'd ask all drivers to insist that their sanctioning bodies support a safety foundation (no small feat) and then go down and see the head guys at NASCAR’s new safety facility. They are putting serious money into all kinds of safety issues and there probably isn't a sanctioning body in the world that wouldn't benefit from looking over their collective shoulders and creating some sort of alliance.

How about safety revenue sharing? (Like Major League Baseball) Let some of NASCAR’s good fortune trickle down to safety advances in other forms of the sport. I bet there is an angle there that could be to everyone's (including the France family's) benefit.
Safety is the one place where proprietary information is and should be routinely shared. If a track can't afford to buy a state of the art barrier from a supplier, give them the rights and technical support to build their own.

When you look at all the money that goes into the cars, the cost of creating effective barriers and safety equipment is still a minor percentage. But until there is a unified safety organization advocating for drivers, the status quo will most likely prevail. Sway is good though. I like sway. But leverage is even better... :-)

Last edited by dalyduo; 05-02-2005 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 05-02-2005
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Re: Fixing the safety barrier problem

There are a million things that conspire against getting a safety foundation or committee off the ground. I wonder if it can be something simple rather than a fully sanctioned body? The idea is to provide good advice and funding to help makes tracks safer. Sort of a behind-the-scenes effort without “authority” but with compellingly good ideas about improving barrier safety. And funding to make things happen.

The track maintenance issue is one easily addressed by asking Skip Barber to work with the tracks to make sure track condition is as good as it can be before their cars leave the pits. Things like piles of sand bags, ruts that can be easily fixed, and more, should not be part of what makes racing exciting. I know, I am fighting a culture too. Too many racers are willing to race under any conditions. And I’ve heard, “If it’s not safe over there then don’t go over there.”

I just think we can do better for ourselves and fellow racers.
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Old 05-02-2005
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Re: Fixing the safety barrier problem

If the car accelerates on grass (as stated above) is it fair to assume that given enough grass the car would eventually be doing 500 MPH? Maybe it just feels that way when the deceleration of pavement goes away!

OLDMAN
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Old 05-03-2005
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Re: Fixing the safety barrier problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by OLDMAN
If the car accelerates on grass (as stated above) is it fair to assume that given enough grass the car would eventually be doing 500 MPH? Maybe it just feels that way when the deceleration of pavement goes away!

OLDMAN
I'll field that one (since I'm an engineer about to graduate ). When skidding across asphalt, the rate of deceleration is greater than that of skidding across grass. For this reason, when you transition from asphalt to gras, the change in deceleration is a positive value. Therefore, you have a moment of acceleration, realitevly speeking.

And here's my input on the actual subject at hand:
Gravel traps: I think they're decent, but the problem is that different materials need to be used fore different weight race vehicles in order to be effective. Lighter cars need a softer, more loosely compacted gravel than heavier cars. So, in order to provide the best protection for all race vehicles, tracks would untimately have to remove and replace the material baised on the vehicels that will be using the track that day. Definately highly difficult and expensive.

Tire walls with membranes: From experiance, I can say that these are prety good. Last october, I hit them in west bend wich moved them back about 6'. I walked away unscathed and went on to race the next two days.

After hearing about how effective the HANS device has been for others, I'm definately looking for one!
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Old 05-03-2005
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Re: Fixing the safety barrier problem

Safety in racing

Racing is dangerous…but also exciting, challenging, satisfying, and uncertainty reified.

Daytona crashes: Three of us crashed, within a 10-yard space, repainting the unbuffered outside concrete wall exiting the new chicane; Jon on Thursday, Chris and I on Saturday. I turned early at the 3rd apex, got into the hole at the 4th apex, launched and rotated right, locked up by the time I came down and went head on into the wall. Got my head forward in the HANS and hands off the wheel. Biggest hit I’ve had – bent the seat bolts. Drove the next race. Had two superficial bruises noticed when showering that night. Why were Jon and Chris hurt when I wasn’t? My speculation: they hit at unfortunate angles while I went straight in and I might have taken off a few more mph before hitting.

The hole at the 4th apex wasn’t filled until Saturday night, but I wasn’t going to run over that hole again anyway. Doing it right, I was able to come from 9th to 2nd in the Master’s race Sunday. Oldman is right: driver error is the cause of most accidents.

Importantly, SBR is asking Daytona to let SBR use the old chicane again in the future. Better exit angle onto the oval and a safety barrier in the target zone. Fits with many salient observations and suggestions about improving track safety. The new chicane may be better for motorcycles, but it’s manifestly more difficult for RT-2000s.

Observations:

Cars: RT 2000s are stout. I think Sy is right that side protection is the weakest component of the safety package. Maybe the new cars will be safer, but RT-2000s are robust as many of us have proven.

Tracks: Safety can be improved, but it’s hard to determine which systematic changes are needed. We can’t agree on barriers, gravel traps versus asphalt, safety associations, etc. Big run offs with asphalt are great unless your brakes go away - Revere and I were glad for the gravel trap at Canada Corner when we arrived there with no brakes in 1995.

I expect the best we can do is identify obvious remediable hazards, ask that they be fixed and race or not as we decide. Jackie Stewart’s complaints led to many track safety improvements, but after complaining, he raced despite hazards that weren’t fixed. As Barry Waddell says, “You’re the captain of the ship.” We decide to race or not, each time. Nicki Lauda didn’t race in blinding rain, foregoing a chance to win another F1 championship.

Individual safety gear: To each his (or her) own.

HANS device: Revere and I have been wearing ours 5 years – with straps shortened to 4 ½ inches. I’ve used mine twice – big time (Daytona last month and Mt. Tremblant after turn 1 three years ago) – Revere once at Mt. Tremblant, same corner. My personal opinion on proper HANS technique when crashing: get your head forward when going in head first. I had no head, neck or back strain, ache or pain either time.

I concur with Gerardo’s advice about getting all belts, starting with the seatbelt, as tight as one can, even beyond initial comfort. After the shoulder belts are tight, bringing your chin down rotates the HANS forward, affording another opportunity to further tighten the shoulder belts and secure the HANS. Repeat. Tighten shoulder belts from time to time on straights.

Arm restraints: I always wear them; haven’t used them yet. Ask folks who’ve been upside down. Denial is a primitive and overrated psychological defense mechanism.

Nomex underwear, socks and head sock: Damn hot, but as Carroll Smith said, if you think they’re hot, try a fire. Ask Earnhart. I’ve seen only one fire in a moving SB car when a fuel line came off – I still wear Nomex. Revere wears neither arm restraints nor Nomex – so much for parental control.

Foamed seat: Broke two ribs in 3rd season against frame in a crash at turn 14 at Road America before I had the first seat poured. Revere locked his seat in his car last summer and felt beat up after racing without it.

My conclusions: There are risks in racing and in all of life. Medicine, another love, is also a risk-benefit business. For me, the balance is far in favor of benefit in racing, despite its risks.
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Old 05-03-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Well spoken John. Bravo.
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  #39  
Old 05-04-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerardo
Well spoken John. Bravo.
Agreed. Your long range practical experience speaks volumes.

I'd nominate John as our safety czar, but like most of us, I suspect he'd rather be racing.
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Old 05-04-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

john thanks for cutting the whinnnnnning down some. if you dont want to risk getting hurt

try raising tropical fish. i hear that can be exciteing
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Last edited by cdh; 05-10-2005 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 05-04-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by badgersid
john thanks for cutting the whinnnnnning down some. if you dont want to risk getting hurt

try raising tropical fish. i hear that can be exciteing
Hey Sid, cut us some slack. We're just finding creative ways to focus our talents and burn off energy in those long voids between racing.

We'll certainly remember the "whinnnnnnning" comment while you're waxing on about the mechanics fund next week at LRP!
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Old 05-04-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Imagine, Sid talking about Whining. By the way Sid, thanks for answering my email of 2 months ago. I case you're interested, the skiing was terrific. The Tower Bar and Doc are gone!

OLDMAN
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Old 05-05-2005
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Angry Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

excuse me but i do not whiiiinnnneee


i threaten there is a big diffrence i will point that out to you this weekend
hard for me to say i am looking foward to seeing you guys
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Last edited by cdh; 05-10-2005 at 01:19 PM.
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  #44  
Old 05-05-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by badgersid
excuse me but i do not whiiiinnnneee


i threaten there is a big diffrence i will point that out to you this weekend
hard for me to say i am looking foward to seeing you guys
Translation: "I love you guys more than I can say and can't wait to see you all again!"

Sid's just working on his game face.

Which one will it be?

All of these work but ultimately fall short... :-)

We love you too, Big Kahuna, and can't wait to see you too.

Last edited by dalyduo; 05-05-2005 at 04:37 PM.
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  #45  
Old 05-07-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

WOW this post has got long… let me add my views to stir up the pot.



Racing is dangerous. PERIOD. Race Car drivers have died doing what they love, that is sad but reality. Other People die everyday also. No matter how safe we make think, we are on a count down to death. I am not sure how many people got killed yesterday on the public highways going to work but there were many. How many race cars driver died yesterday? Think about it going 50-60 miles an hour in your daily commute to a job that most of us hate and you never arrive. The phone rings and the police tell your loved ones you died on America highways. I guess that 40 thousand dollars you spent to own a brand new state of the art vehicle with all the extra bells and whistles with quad air bags just wasn’t enough to save your sorry ass.



Trust me I am the first one to bitch about safety. I hate LRP, there is no run off, walls are way too close and I like to step on the brakes because I am scared. LRP sucks, but I go there for the challenge and every year I still suck at West Bend (right Todd) but racing is what I love and LRP is a race track. I wish Skip Barber (the man) would move the walls, cut some trees down and redesign the track. But even if the tree huggers or beaver lovers would let him he probably would not do it…. Why, 2 reasons, one is money and two LRP is historic. Does either of these make good decisions where some ones life is at risk? No they do not but life = money. How many of you guys take a cheap fare on a no name air like Jet Blue or Spirit, how many of you ask how much the helmet costs before you reach in your pocket for you CC, how many of you did not purchase a HANS because it was $2,000? Get real, it is and will always be about the money, especially to us that do not make the big coin. By the way what is big coin today? Have much money do you need to have before you ask the simple question, “HOW MUCH IS THAT”.



You guys want to be safer then let’s go to Europe; the Tracks are better, faster and safer because Formula 1 is the standard over seas. Ferrari spends over 400 Million a year, Toyota now spends 600 Million + and there are still 7 more teams with big budgets to throw at the sport. Here in America unless you are NASCAR you have very little say in track design or track safety. So your novel idea is great but from where I see it you guys are trying to make SBR accountable for the tracks they race at… THEY DO NOT OWN ANY OF THESE TRACKS. And with my understanding of their scheduling conflicts these so called unsafe race tracks are booked solid most of the time. Why aren’t the professional race drivers pushing for more safety… let’s call Michael Andretti and ask him.



My wife said to me after Jon’s crash in Daytona she was shocked that someone could get hurt like that at a Skippy Event…. I have always told her the cars are safe and they are. So is the X5 she drives but people still get hurt. I have been flipped at Sebring Turn 1 (100 MPH) by a Skip Employee (Hi Phil), I have flipped a Skippy Investor in Sebring at Turn 17 (120 MPH – 3 wide, hello Quentin), been upside down at the down hill at LRP, I hit the tire wall at Turn 2 in Moroso head on when I ran over the guy in front of me and lost the brakes. And look I am alive and well. It just is not my time yet.



Look guys, racing much like all sports are risky. Trying to make the sport you love safer is wonderful but when you drive cars at the edge of control inches apart from each other if you hang around long enough you will crash and maybe get injured or killed. I can not watch the Injury racing League Oval Races any more because I am scarred for those guys and sexy Danica. I am really concerned for my friend Marco who will probably be there in a year or so. But they are racers and racing is what they do.



I know some of you have said and are thinking that it is the year 2005 and we are not in the 50’s any more but this weekend much like every weekend where there are vintage races with those diabolical cars form the 60’s through the early 90’s when safety was never a concern, just flat out speed. Good luck Barry Waddell next week in his 92 Lola Indy at Road America. Don’t think about the wife and kids in the kink. Keep your foot in it. Facts are we have come a long way since then but for the most part the tracks have not changed that much. Before the SAFER Barrier the last major change(s) to a track was in 2000 at California. Was that because of Greg Moore or because NASCAR saw how Greg died. I do not know the answer but CART was just starting their downward slide to the rise of the 500 lb gorilla.



I feel safer in the Skippy car racing next to a 14 year old TelMex product then I do in my X5 on the highway with the masses.



Rick Mears has 2 great sayings:

1 – There are 2 types of drivers, one that has hit the wall and one that will hit the wall.

2 - In drivers meeting for the IPS series Rick has said, “You guys do not have enough sheet time”. A bed sheet is what he was talking about.



There is an inherent risk in what we do while driving race cars. If you think the cars are unsafe then do not strap in. Skippy or any where else. People get hurt and will continue to get hurt it is that simple.



To quote the late Dale Eanhardt at Talladega a few years back…”do we want to race or not, I want to race”. And so do I.



Fond Memories of you Greg “see you in the front”.



Got to go … going to see SID. See you all this weekend… Not racing just coming to have fun. Still job searching.
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Old 05-07-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Matt, well said. Dinner's on me next time.(as long as its Mexican)
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Old 05-07-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Screw dinner... let me race the car.
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  #48  
Old 05-07-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Hey 5:
I never realized that racers are being hurt and killed due to "tree Huggers" and "beaver lovers". So I guess "Liberals" are the reason Jon Miller got injured. I thought It might have been some bad ruts and an unpadded wall. You sound like every smoker I know, they all say "when your time's up, it's up". Of course, they all give up smoking right after their doctor tells them they have terminal cancer.

As far as money being an issue, I could build a tire wall at the end of the escape road(LRP), the outside of turn 4(LRP), and anywhere else they're needed for the Eastern Series for the price of one Hans Device. Tires are less than free!

I hate it when politics finds its way into forums like this one.

OLDMAN
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Old 05-08-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

"You win some, lose some, and wreck some." Dale

"I feel safer on a racetrack than I do on Houston 's freeways." A. J.

"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older." Mario

"The reason I'm racing is because I enjoy being in the car and being on the edge.". Jacques

"But fear is an irrational business. The things that really scare the s**t out of me are earwigs, which used to infest our home in Ireland. I'd rather do 180mph around Monza than even see an earwig, let alone have one crawling around on me. I don't like snakes, either, but they are about the only two things that scare me, except for weddings, of course, and commitment, but that's another story." Eddie (I had to include one from the quote master Irvine)

Matt, you state "I am not sure how many people got killed yesterday on the public highways going to work but there were many."

Sadly, It averages about one traffic death every 12 minutes in the US - that's 43,800 per year.




.
.

Last edited by cdh; 05-08-2005 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 05-08-2005
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Re: A few Thoughts on Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5&counting
I hate LRP, there is no run off, walls are way too close and I like to step on the brakes because I am scared.
Step on the brakes? You? I'd like to know which of those pedals you think are the brakes. Maybe you think it's the one on the right, because I've driven behind you many times at LRP and elsewhere and I KNOW you are flying through the fast turns. Your brain might be scared, but those signals aren't being relayed to your feet!

Otherwise your post is dead on, and also as usual a great read. Hey, lets plan on pulling some practical jokes on Todd and Sid next weekend - I'm not racing either.

Last edited by sydude; 05-08-2005 at 01:51 AM.
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