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Josh42

Thoughts on a Subject of Spectators in the Pits

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Thursday night at Gator Motorplex was amazing. 26 305 Sprint Cars and 29 World of Outlaw sprint cars on the premises. The place was packed most people I have ever seen at Gator in all my times of going there. There was an accident in the pits involving a 13 year old boy and a Outlaw Sprint Car. The 13 year old boy was hit by the car, I did not see the accident but saw the aftermath. I will not name the driver of the sprint car, but the boy was transported to the hospital then lifeflighted to Houston. Reports stated he received 22-25 staples in his head and some other injuries but he is doing better. It was chaotic at times in the pits as there was multiple times I had to holler heads up and we were trying to go to the staging area or even just trying to go back to our trailer. I witnessed a WoO official grab a guy and pull him out of the way of a push vehicle coming through after the official had blown an air horn and hollered at the guy. I saw kids walking around with their parents that honestly barely just learned how to walk. I understand the fans want to be where the action is, and I am very grateful for them being there. The biggest problem we had Thursday night was people not paying attention to their surroundings. I remember the days when you had to be 16 to get in the pits no matter what.

 

The main questions are:

1. Should there be an age limit on kids in the pits whether they are family to the racer or not?

2. Should it be only pit passes sold to the racers and crew only?

3. Could a track do a pit party a couple hours before the races where the fans are allowed in but have to be ushered out before the races start?

4. Should a track sell separate pit passes for fans and have them stay in a certain area?

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Good luck with that Josh,

You know that todays society wont allow you to not allow little johnny or sally to stroll thru the pits at any age.

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Just charge so much that it is a deterrent for them to go to the pits. Pits should be limited someway. These lawsuits are closing more tracks than needs to be.

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This is a touchy subject. I think the tracks should have rules for the pits explained for the fan. We all know when strapped in you can't see that well, but fans don't know that. When I have taken my daughters in the pits after the races they were told race cars have the right of way. You need to get out of their way cause they might not be able to see you. To the average fan they might not know or understand that.

 

Hopefully that kid will make a quick and speedy recovery.

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First and foremost I hope the boy has a complete recovery.Yes , I remember the days when you had to be 16 and with a car. Kinda sounds like the stands were sold out so fans bought a pit pass to get in.Not much seating in pits to begin with . I kinda feel only people driving , working on a pit crew and track personel are all that should be in the pits.

Edited by arob

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On what ToyotaTim said about lawsuits, I have this suspiscion and this my belief no one elses, is that lawyers have already been contacted. During the story the news outlet contact the track which stated that their insurance company told them not to comment on the situation. I know there is an investigation under way which is one reason not to comment but if a lawyer is involved they don't want anyone speaking. Gator is one of those tracks that have hung around through a lot and that was very good night for the track. Yall are right this is a sticky and tough subject. I know that Supercross and Monster Jam do a pit party a couple hours before the races where fans can pay an extra fee and go down and meet the drivers(riders) and see the vehicles up close. When it is time to race only the crews and racers are allowed down there in the pits.

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Where I was growing up there was an age limit - I think it was 16. But nowadays with 14 year olds driving full size cars how can it be enforced?

 

The Outlaws have had pre-raxe pit entry for fans at the last few Outlaw races I have been to in California and Missouri. I assume its just something they do now.

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That lawyer is going to make more on this one case than the race track ever had a chance of making. Sometime you cant worry about who you make mad to protect your playground. You have to find a way to keep people out of the pits that do not need to be there. You could talk for days how to do it, everyone has a different way, you just have to get-r-done. Tell the wife and kids go to the stands, buy some popcorn, hotdogs and high dollar bottled water and stay out. I would not bring my kids in the pits anyhow, no telling what they would hear.

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Responsibility . that word needs to stand out at all tracks .a track can make a pit safe only in so many ways .it still needs parents to instill the paying attention words and keep track of the young ones .and 13 is still young .pits have a lot of things going on at any given moment and I see some parents letting their kids run free and ride 4 wheelers with out super vision ,did that happen at this track only they know this .a lot of distraction back there and it is easy to get distracted ..the one thing is and all should be made aware of not taking all the safety in mind it needs in the pits will cost the track to close or the insurance will sky rocket or just be plain dropped all together or the insurance will just make it a 16 or over age again .I took years to let the fans and family into the pits and wont take to many getting hurt to ruin that ....for those who think a racetrack is a great babysitting park .stay home you are a big part of the problem that will ruin it for others .a few signs around a track with danger and a pic drawn showing what can happen may help .sad it would have to come to that each team should know the rules and during drivers meeting it should be included in every meeting bout safety ..and most track do ..

Edited by HiTech

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HiTech , parenting when we were young is a lot different than now. I'll leave it at that.Now I'm not making a blanket statement. There are a lot of responsible parents in the pits and stands.And race tracks are better that a lot of places like concerts,football games and where I'm guilty sometimes, hockey games.

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your right arob I know parenting isn't how we grew up I am not attacking racers in general but if it is racers I am pointing a finger at you ..I just cant stand to see so many parents all over not teaching or watching their young ones and when something happens it isn't their fault .so they get a lawyer and ruin it for others .. ..that started when we could not spank or get on em ..which that never stopped me ..racetracks cant absorb lawsuits like football and other sports can ..shoestrings aren't that long and strong enough to handle lawsuits ..

Edited by HiTech

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It is not just kids. Adults don't pay attention either. I was trying to load my car the other night and had several groups of adults just walk by while I was trying to back up. I was in motion and they literally just kept coming. With a full containment seat there is zero visibility. With out a spotter I would have tagged a few.

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dirtracer 9s you can bet they are the ones lacking in common sense and are those who I would point too with their kids .I am probable going to get in trouble here and don't care when it comes to teaching and taking care of the ones you should protect ..

Edited by HiTech

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Pits should be limited someway. These lawsuits are closing more tracks than needs to be.

OMG.....Tim and I agree on something.

 

It's sad a tragedy has to happen for this subject to even come up.....As I walk the pits at tracks all over Texas I see this stuff come close to happening so many times.....

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We're fighting for a sport and lawyers are fighting for money. Money wins every time.

 

You would hope, though, that folks who seek access to the pits at a local track would be fans and aware of the risks they are assuming when they bring their family into the live pits. When you're aware of the risks, why sue? Of course, the answer, once again, is - Money wins. Every time

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http://abc13.com/news/witness-says-he-saw-13-year-old-hit-by-race-car/1885307/

 

Well after the story has been updated, it seems to be what the ire of the situation is that the driver didn't stop and check on the kid. I think some peoples memories were fuzzy due to everything that was going on. The driver did stop because the car shut off, the driver did try to get out and check on the kid but they pushed the car back to the pits. That's what I saw. Now there is some reports that he was trying to go check on the kid but was instructed to stay at his trailer, and another report that he did go back but the cops pushed him back due to all the people in the area. There has been some pretty heated discussions on social media about this. My opinion is with the way I saw people acting that it was probably the right thing to wait for the fear of maybe someone attacking or going off on him. There is lawyers involved and no police investigation but who knows whats going to happen.

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And we know the news is only going to report the most sensational stuff . Tracks better look at their pit lighting now.

Edited by arob

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well the rest of the story hasn't been told . nick you would hope and I agree but you and I know some do not have the common sense to keep it within the right spectrum of lets deal with the track with out lawyers remember in todays world someone is always the blame except the us mentality can do no wrong bs .

 

we had a dipstick jack his car up at one for our local stores with a cheap jack .pulled the right front tire and tried to change his alt belt at night with no one around .car sitting on a slope no blocks no jack stands no nothing while leaning up under the fender caused the car of course to roll back and lost four fingers from his hand under the brake rotor .and he won some money the company settled ..

Edited by HiTech

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As someone with a 2 yearold I think I can speak some on this subject, I can not imagine the mentality of a parent that would sue someone over what was so clearly the parent and child's fault. A 13 yearold is more than old enough to be alert and responsible for their own actions; if you can not see, hear and feel a WoO's Sprint Car coming at you then you have zero business being on the same side of a fence as one. Beyond that the parent is 100% liable for watching their minor-child in such a situation; according to reports I've read on this issue they where standing roughly along the track exit road...how could you possibly think that is a good idea? Lighting wouldn't have made a damned but of difference, I suspect even if he had seen the child the options would have been very limited.

 

This relates back to another touchy issue; if you are standing along the fence at a racing facility and a car hits that fence and you fall that is 100% on you. No intelligent person would look at a FENCE designed to keep cars away from people and think "I bet cars never hit that, seems purely like decoration."

 

There are A LOT of things worthy of lawsuits in this country; gross neglect from manufacturers, doctors not doing their jobs correctly and on and on...but suing a place where cars are when you get in the way of the car?! COMON!

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They will say there should be a barricade keeping people from wandering into that area.Looking at the layout of Gator(having never been there) they might had been trying to get to the main grandstands.Well if you bought a pit pass as a spectator you use pit stands.There is no reason for ANYONE to be walking around in the area of the track exit at any track for that matter.Bottom line if you are not driving , working on a car or a track official you don't belong in the pits.

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One problem with looking at the overhead shot on google maps is you have to remember they reconfigured the track over the winter. You no longer enter the track on the back stretch you enter in turn 4, you still exit in turn 1

 

To give you an idea where it happened at. If you look at the track in the background just at the bottom of the hill where the last set of boards are on the catch fence is where it happened. The kid was going from the pit side to the hill.

I added another picture that shows the lighting at night and I will say there is a lack of lighting in this area that is only really being light up by the lights on the backs of the trailers. There is a moontower light a little further down. But you take into consideration a black car, with a black wing, at night, full containment seat, helmet with tearoffs. He most likely did not see the kid till the last minute which from what I was told how it happened that he swerved to miss the kid.

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post-19-0-95361700-1492620229_thumb.jpg

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I stand near the fence .I walk through pit areas and pit road and drive ways through the pits ..I ride a mini bike all over the place now and I never take my eye off of where I am aiming that motor bike I am looking for anything to drive walk or fall off as too not hit fall and hurt myself or worst case hit someone else .I catch myself if I get in a hurry with this bike really fast I slow down at a safe speed though I really at times want to hurry .. but with all that being safe as I can be I know I am not in a safe environment and except I may get hurt by someone else or something else not foreseen ..

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