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Topic: When will safety catch up with the high speeds??? Email this topic to a friend | Subscribe to this TopicReport this Topic to Moderator
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NWFAN
June 26, 2018 at 11:54:08 AM
Joined: 12/07/2006
Posts: 2030
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so my girlfriend asked me that question when i informed her of the tragic event and it is  a very valid point!  she is six years new to sprint car racing and loves it just much as we all do.  soooo, is there an answer?

thoughts, feelings, remarks???


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brettco
June 26, 2018 at 12:09:02 PM
Joined: 12/03/2004
Posts: 502
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 Guys walk away from destroyed cars 95% of the time. I think the safety is actually pretty amazing but it isn't perfect.



StanM
MyResults MyPressRelease
June 26, 2018 at 12:28:25 PM
Joined: 11/07/2006
Posts: 4136
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Reply to:
Posted By: NWFAN on June 26 2018 at 11:54:08 AM

so my girlfriend asked me that question when i informed her of the tragic event and it is  a very valid point!  she is six years new to sprint car racing and loves it just much as we all do.  soooo, is there an answer?

thoughts, feelings, remarks???



They have been chasing that elusive goal since the first race.  I grew up in St. Paul, MN, three blocks from the Fairgrounds in the 50s and 60s.  My first awareness of open wheel cars being dangerous was when there was a double fatality in an IMCA race at the Fair and it was on the front page of the paper. 

I could be wrong but it seems like theyre faster and get more air every year.  Maybe it's me and I'm just getting older and can't process the whole thing in my mind anymore.  


Stan Meissner

Dryslick Willie
June 26, 2018 at 01:12:32 PM
Joined: 12/17/2009
Posts: 1200
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Reply to:
Posted By: NWFAN on June 26 2018 at 11:54:08 AM

so my girlfriend asked me that question when i informed her of the tragic event and it is  a very valid point!  she is six years new to sprint car racing and loves it just much as we all do.  soooo, is there an answer?

thoughts, feelings, remarks???



The cars are probably as safe as they're going to get now that everyone is running wrap around seats.   The place where safety can be improved is the racetracks.    In this case, people will wonder if a catch fence would have prevented this.   In my opinion it would have.    Last year Joey Saldana flipped over the fence into a spectator area at Volusia.   Noone was hurt, but did they do anything to prevent it from happening again?  Then three days later Dale Blaney did almost the same thing and three people were hurt, a couple of them badly.   To this day, has anything been done to that facility to prevent another accident?    I could say similar things about Devils Bowl.    Jeff Swindell flipped over the front straightaway fence a long time ago.   Noone was hurt, but they did nothing and that fence is exactly the same as it was in 1989 (or whenever that happened).    When I take someone out there who's new to racing I advise them to not be walking down there by the fence while sprint cars were on the track.   

 

How can things like this be changed?   I don't know.   Sometimes it takes a disaster to get anyone's attention.   And in some cases maybe it takes tracks getting sued.   Obviously I don't want to see another disaster or see racing issues wind up in court.   Maybe if the tracks won't do anything to improve safety, then maybe the sanction bodies should.   For that matter maybe track owners and sanction bodies should get together on this to see what can be done.    



larsonfan
June 26, 2018 at 01:18:59 PM
Joined: 03/24/2013
Posts: 941
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This message was edited on June 26, 2018 at 01:25:25 PM by larsonfan
Reply to:
Posted By: NWFAN on June 26 2018 at 11:54:08 AM

so my girlfriend asked me that question when i informed her of the tragic event and it is  a very valid point!  she is six years new to sprint car racing and loves it just much as we all do.  soooo, is there an answer?

thoughts, feelings, remarks???



Seems like there is a lot of disparity between tracks - and we've all seen it. One has robust catch fencing and another has fencing that looks like you could knock it over with a shove. How some tracks even get insurance is beyond me. One would think also that sanctioning bodies would have their own minimums. Seems like the industry hasn't learned much since the Dan Weldon tragedy at Las Vegas as far a poles that support bill boards.

I don't know about you guys and gals, but it's gonna be a while before I hit another race. My heart just isn't in it. I felt the same after we lost BC.



MandGRacing96
June 26, 2018 at 01:24:23 PM
Joined: 01/19/2009
Posts: 184
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Posted By: larsonfan on June 26 2018 at 01:18:59 PM

Seems like there is a lot of disparity between tracks - and we've all seen it. One has robust catch fencing and another has fencing that looks like you could knock it over with a shove. How some tracks even get insurance is beyond me. One would think also that sanctioning bodies would have their own minimums. Seems like the industry hasn't learned much since the Dan Weldon tragedy at Las Vegas as far a poles that support bill boards.

I don't know about you guys and gals, but it's gonna be a while before I hit another race. My heart just isn't in it. I felt the same after we lost BC.



I may be in the minority here, but I think sprint cars are very safe for race cars.  The frames, the seats, and the safety equipment is really good.  Ive seen some downright frightening crashes and the drivers get out and walk off.  And other wrecks that dont look bad at all, and they get injured.  Can things be done at tracks?  Sure there is always room for improvement.  There were/are fatalities in sprints when they had no cages, no wings and now with wings on em.  Its all part of this sport that we all love.  At times we all hate it too.



revjimk
June 26, 2018 at 01:50:53 PM
Joined: 09/14/2010
Posts: 3888
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Posted By: Dryslick Willie on June 26 2018 at 01:12:32 PM

The cars are probably as safe as they're going to get now that everyone is running wrap around seats.   The place where safety can be improved is the racetracks.    In this case, people will wonder if a catch fence would have prevented this.   In my opinion it would have.    Last year Joey Saldana flipped over the fence into a spectator area at Volusia.   Noone was hurt, but did they do anything to prevent it from happening again?  Then three days later Dale Blaney did almost the same thing and three people were hurt, a couple of them badly.   To this day, has anything been done to that facility to prevent another accident?    I could say similar things about Devils Bowl.    Jeff Swindell flipped over the front straightaway fence a long time ago.   Noone was hurt, but they did nothing and that fence is exactly the same as it was in 1989 (or whenever that happened).    When I take someone out there who's new to racing I advise them to not be walking down there by the fence while sprint cars were on the track.   

 

How can things like this be changed?   I don't know.   Sometimes it takes a disaster to get anyone's attention.   And in some cases maybe it takes tracks getting sued.   Obviously I don't want to see another disaster or see racing issues wind up in court.   Maybe if the tracks won't do anything to improve safety, then maybe the sanction bodies should.   For that matter maybe track owners and sanction bodies should get together on this to see what can be done.    



This makes sense to me....



Dlucks83
June 26, 2018 at 01:50:59 PM
Joined: 07/25/2017
Posts: 61
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Reply to:
Posted By: Dryslick Willie on June 26 2018 at 01:12:32 PM

The cars are probably as safe as they're going to get now that everyone is running wrap around seats.   The place where safety can be improved is the racetracks.    In this case, people will wonder if a catch fence would have prevented this.   In my opinion it would have.    Last year Joey Saldana flipped over the fence into a spectator area at Volusia.   Noone was hurt, but did they do anything to prevent it from happening again?  Then three days later Dale Blaney did almost the same thing and three people were hurt, a couple of them badly.   To this day, has anything been done to that facility to prevent another accident?    I could say similar things about Devils Bowl.    Jeff Swindell flipped over the front straightaway fence a long time ago.   Noone was hurt, but they did nothing and that fence is exactly the same as it was in 1989 (or whenever that happened).    When I take someone out there who's new to racing I advise them to not be walking down there by the fence while sprint cars were on the track.   

 

How can things like this be changed?   I don't know.   Sometimes it takes a disaster to get anyone's attention.   And in some cases maybe it takes tracks getting sued.   Obviously I don't want to see another disaster or see racing issues wind up in court.   Maybe if the tracks won't do anything to improve safety, then maybe the sanction bodies should.   For that matter maybe track owners and sanction bodies should get together on this to see what can be done.    



Pretty close to spot on. I would add there needs to be a serious conversation on what can be done about increasing the cage’s integrity around the driver. We weren’t that far away from a similar situation with Gravel to start the year.

It’s pretty much inexcusable to have an outside retaining wall without a catch fence at this point. Jason would have been sore but he would still be here if they countined the fence. The opening also looked to be unnecessarily large too.



STP
June 26, 2018 at 01:58:14 PM
Joined: 11/14/2006
Posts: 25
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Racing will NEVER be SAFE, all we can do is try to make it SAFER, by the study of what happened, how it happened, and what we can do (if possible) to prevent it from happening again.  I am old enough to remember sprint cars without roll bars, let alone without cages, drivers racing in t-shirts without shoulder restraints, seats without head rests and so on.  Racing is safer today than it was in the past because smart people saw a problem and made the situation better, but events like this past week jar us out of being complacent about the dangers of the sport we all love.  Learn from the past, but understand how the laws of physics work.  Airplanes fly not because we can break the law of gravity, but, because we understand it and make it work for us, but sometimes systems fail and when that happens Mr. Newton's laws of motion take over.  There has been a lot of speculation about a lot of things as to how and why this happened, I will wait until the experts of the industry release their finding as to what and how it happened, and what needs to be done to possibly prevent it from happening again 



cubfan07
June 26, 2018 at 02:02:11 PM
Joined: 06/01/2007
Posts: 569
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Reply to:
Posted By: Dlucks83 on June 26 2018 at 01:50:59 PM

Pretty close to spot on. I would add there needs to be a serious conversation on what can be done about increasing the cage’s integrity around the driver. We weren’t that far away from a similar situation with Gravel to start the year.

It’s pretty much inexcusable to have an outside retaining wall without a catch fence at this point. Jason would have been sore but he would still be here if they countined the fence. The opening also looked to be unnecessarily large too.



In regards to the cage, what more could be done? You want it to give to help absorb some of the impact. Additional bars only make it more difficult for a driver to escape the car.

I don't think any dirt track should have concrete walls. Jasons crash appeared very similar to the Pierce kid's crash on Friday of Chili Bowl 2017. Is guard rail more expensive than concrete walls?


-Austin Rankin

fiXXXer
June 26, 2018 at 02:20:05 PM
Joined: 10/26/2014
Posts: 1498
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This message was edited on June 26, 2018 at 02:23:33 PM by fiXXXer
Reply to:
Posted By: larsonfan on June 26 2018 at 01:18:59 PM

Seems like there is a lot of disparity between tracks - and we've all seen it. One has robust catch fencing and another has fencing that looks like you could knock it over with a shove. How some tracks even get insurance is beyond me. One would think also that sanctioning bodies would have their own minimums. Seems like the industry hasn't learned much since the Dan Weldon tragedy at Las Vegas as far a poles that support bill boards.

I don't know about you guys and gals, but it's gonna be a while before I hit another race. My heart just isn't in it. I felt the same after we lost BC.



Agreed. As I said in a previous post, this should light a fire under the ass of the WoO when it comes to the facilities they race at. Concrete barriers (especially ones with the top exposed which acts as a shear when the rollcage hits along the sharp edges) and exposed poles are one of the many things that they need to address. As I also said previously, I know the bridge at Williams Grove is iconic but how long until it kills someone? It's been a miracle that it hasn't happened yet given the fact that cars have actually hit it on numerous occasions. That bridge would be a great thing to display down at the EMMR because its a piece of history. Sprint cars are always going to be dangerous but when there's obvious things like that, the WoO needs to act as the professional organization they are and work with their tracks to make sure they're taken care of.



fiXXXer
June 26, 2018 at 02:20:56 PM
Joined: 10/26/2014
Posts: 1498
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Posted By: cubfan07 on June 26 2018 at 02:02:11 PM

In regards to the cage, what more could be done? You want it to give to help absorb some of the impact. Additional bars only make it more difficult for a driver to escape the car.

I don't think any dirt track should have concrete walls. Jasons crash appeared very similar to the Pierce kid's crash on Friday of Chili Bowl 2017. Is guard rail more expensive than concrete walls?



+1



Nick14
June 26, 2018 at 02:29:21 PM
Joined: 06/04/2012
Posts: 630
Reply

The problem with the question that is posed, When will safety catch up with the high speeds???, is that one unfortunately out weighs the other often times. Sanctioning bodies, rule makers, safety experts can figure out weighs to slow the cars down but on the flip side you have crew-chiefs, engine builders, chassis specialist, and drivers that will figure out how to make them faster. That is their job.

I agree with some that the cars are safe in a sense but they can be safer as well and there are some things that tracks can do in order to make things safer. To me I would say that this should be left up to the drivers & have them take a long hard look at what they feel needs to be done. Have them list their concerns as they are the ones who are risking everything. Too often whenever a tragedy happens the message boards light up and people say well this or that should be done or sanctioning bodies, engine builders, car builders should do this. That is fine as we all have some sort of vested interest in the sport.

However to me, I would like to hear the thoughts of the drivers. What are their concerns? They are the ones that risk more than any of us. At any moment sadly as we have found out this past weekend, the worst can happen. Chassis builders, sanctioning bodies, promoters, etc need to go to them and ask them. Plus whenever a safety advancement happens we hear excuses often times like, well tracks can't do that because of the cost, car owners can't do that because of the cost, we can't do that because it will hurt the local racer, that will hurt local racing in general, this safety innovation will hurt the performance of the car, and that safety innovation is too costly to test to see if it works. Maybe the question needs to be, what is the REAL cost of not improving the safety, because it isn't a nominal amount of money. Sadly, its something else.



3799
June 26, 2018 at 02:37:45 PM
Joined: 08/12/2010
Posts: 101
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Wasn't there just a big discussion about the cages needing to be made safer after David Gravel's crash ? All talk and no action, and now the worst possible scenario has played out. Would it have helped? We will never know for sure. You cannot make a sprint car completely safe under all circumstances, but only talking about the problem sure as heck did nothing.



D1RT
June 26, 2018 at 02:42:13 PM
Joined: 11/28/2007
Posts: 244
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Until drivers, sanctions, and fans refuse to race at tracks with issues that pose a risk of health, life, and safety there will never be any changes done to fix it.

How many of you fans and drivers have ever went to a track and asked for their insurance carriers information and what coverage they have if any at all?

How many of you fans and drivers went to a track that doesn't have adequate ems/rescue staff and equipment if any at all?

You'd be surprised at how many lack the above.....



madsen
June 26, 2018 at 02:52:32 PM
Joined: 10/09/2010
Posts: 378
Reply

smaller rear tires mandated or sealed spec engines or both.  


Europe died during Hitler's deathcamps. If not 
for WWII, Jewish people in Europe would number 30 
million-all making important contributions. Instead 
Europe has 30 million people of another persuasion 
trying to destroy Europe. 

blazer00
June 26, 2018 at 03:06:29 PM
Joined: 06/10/2015
Posts: 1935
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As I posted on another thread......what happened can be attributed to the "perfect storm". The sequence of events in Jason's crash tragically lined up in such a way that he lost his life. Maybe upon inspection of the car, and a medical report reviewing the extent of the injuries there will be some light shed on exactly what that sequence was. At this point we can only speculate, but it does appear that the exposed short wall was the culprit in the crash. Everytime I see a wall like that at a race track I wonder why those in charge don't see the liklihood of disaster staring back at them. Probably because with the safety of the cars, they've become somewhat complacent with the safety of the track. It's odd how fans can walk into a joint and see the obvious shortfalls and the owners don't seem to. Just because a certain sequence of events is rare, that doesn'r mean it should be overlooked. I've always thogh one of the most obvious reasons for a wall was containment. Keep the cars inside the race track! Prevent them from wildly disappearing in to the night outside of the track. At least with a high wall, if a car gets over, the momentum is pretty well used up. My son and I went to our first WoO race at Devils Bowl for the spring opener of 1996 or 1997. We no more than sat down and we each stared at one another and made a comment about what we saw in turns three and four.....the suppoert class was pitted in a neat line stretching from turn three to turn four about 75 feet or so out from the track.....and no fricking fence of any kind between them and the track!  We both remarked about how stupidly unsafe that was. During time trials, a sprint car got out of control, jumped the cushion in three and flipped wildly right through the crowded pits of the supprort class. A driver who was working on his car was killed instantly and there were at least two other serious injuries. By the follwing year there was a catch fence from turn three through turn four at Devils Bowl. How the hell did anybody miss that previously? We saw it first visit ever! 



chilly
June 26, 2018 at 03:06:59 PM
Joined: 12/01/2004
Posts: 872
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Reply to:
Posted By: Dryslick Willie on June 26 2018 at 01:12:32 PM

The cars are probably as safe as they're going to get now that everyone is running wrap around seats.   The place where safety can be improved is the racetracks.    In this case, people will wonder if a catch fence would have prevented this.   In my opinion it would have.    Last year Joey Saldana flipped over the fence into a spectator area at Volusia.   Noone was hurt, but did they do anything to prevent it from happening again?  Then three days later Dale Blaney did almost the same thing and three people were hurt, a couple of them badly.   To this day, has anything been done to that facility to prevent another accident?    I could say similar things about Devils Bowl.    Jeff Swindell flipped over the front straightaway fence a long time ago.   Noone was hurt, but they did nothing and that fence is exactly the same as it was in 1989 (or whenever that happened).    When I take someone out there who's new to racing I advise them to not be walking down there by the fence while sprint cars were on the track.   

 

How can things like this be changed?   I don't know.   Sometimes it takes a disaster to get anyone's attention.   And in some cases maybe it takes tracks getting sued.   Obviously I don't want to see another disaster or see racing issues wind up in court.   Maybe if the tracks won't do anything to improve safety, then maybe the sanction bodies should.   For that matter maybe track owners and sanction bodies should get together on this to see what can be done.    



Good thoughts on this. 

I believe that Volusia spent some $$$ this past offseason (after the Saldana and Blaney crashes) and put in new (much taller and sturdier) fencing in turns 1 & 2.  Their insurance company maybe required it!?  

One other example of a facility changing that I can think of is 34 Raceway in Burlington, IA.  Brad Sweet hit the blunt end of their pretty terrible turn 3 wall a few years back and sheared the car in half.  He was very, VERY lucky to only get out of that with a broken ankle (or whatever somewhat minor injury he had).  That off-season, the track completely re-did the turn 3 wall and made it much, much safer.  

The thing that really sucks about the Beaver Dam deal is that a local driver (Scott Semmelmann) passed away 4 years ago from a crash there during hotlaps of an IRA show.  The circumstances of that crash sound WAY too similar to Jason's.  I believe that was the first fatality in the history of that track.  The track and insurance company maybe chalked it up to bad luck, and didn't change anything.  I would have to think that their hand has been forced now.  Let's hope so.

 



chilly
June 26, 2018 at 03:38:58 PM
Joined: 12/01/2004
Posts: 872
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Reply to:
Posted By: cubfan07 on June 26 2018 at 02:02:11 PM

In regards to the cage, what more could be done? You want it to give to help absorb some of the impact. Additional bars only make it more difficult for a driver to escape the car.

I don't think any dirt track should have concrete walls. Jasons crash appeared very similar to the Pierce kid's crash on Friday of Chili Bowl 2017. Is guard rail more expensive than concrete walls?



Agree 110%.  I think the initial cost of concrete is probably more expensive than guardrail... but then there is virtually no maintainence on it after you build it.  If a guardrail gets hit, bent, and smashed, you have to replace said guardrail.  The thing that makes guardrails so much better is just that... they give.  Going the route of concrete is trying to cut corners on cost, at the expense of driver safety.  Terre Haute replaced their guardrails with concrete a few years ago, which to me was incredibly stupid.  They're unbelievably lucky that Shane Hmiel didn't perish because of it.  Sadly, their luck is going to run out sooner or later. 

Paducah, KY is a fast, high banked paperclip with just a concrete wall in turns 1 & 2.  Kenny Biro got messed up really bad there a few years ago when he flipped and landed on the concrete wall cage first.  He has since recovered, but nothing was done to remedy that fencing situation.  

Totally off the top of my head, Deer Creek Speedway is another that has just concrete walls in the corners.  I'm sure there are plenty more.  If these tracks/their insurance companies don't want to spend the money to make their concrete fences safer, they shouldn't host sprint car races.  Rolling the dice with driver safety just isn't worth it.  



JonR
June 26, 2018 at 05:33:14 PM
Joined: 05/28/2008
Posts: 640
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Reply to:
Posted By: cubfan07 on June 26 2018 at 02:02:11 PM

In regards to the cage, what more could be done? You want it to give to help absorb some of the impact. Additional bars only make it more difficult for a driver to escape the car.

I don't think any dirt track should have concrete walls. Jasons crash appeared very similar to the Pierce kid's crash on Friday of Chili Bowl 2017. Is guard rail more expensive than concrete walls?



Guard rails are not the answer.   In fact, the reason that so many tracks installed concrete walls because of all of the problems with guard rails.  The first problem is that they do not do a good job of stopping cars.   They bend, they break, cars get through the guard rail.   To solve the problem of the guard rails bending and breaking, people started to make the down post out of stronger material.   What makes a great down post......an old railroad tie.   Take all of the potential issues with a concrete wall and now concentrate it to a 6-inch by 6-inch post.   Now, instead of worrying about the top halo contacting the wall, you are worrying about any part of the car contacting the post.   Now instead of a blunt object you have an object that can impale the driver from any angle that the car lands on the post. 

If you think watching a track crew repair a catch fence is a slow process, you should watch them repair the guard rail.   It is a much slower process.   Also, concrete walls are relatively smooth.   A repaired guard rail is not.   

I still believe a concrete wall with a retaining fence is the best solution.   If you have a catch fence, the drivers stay in the track and do not go hitting other objects or hitting the top of the wall.  I do agree that a plain concrete wall with no catch fence is a problem.   We have had enough evidence of that to know this is true.   However, we also have a lot of expereince with a good catch fencing keeping the car in the park, and off of the retaining wall. 

  

 





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