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rebelracewriter

OK, soap box time again

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OK, soap box time again
Over the past couple weekends I've read about racecars/parts ending up in grandstand areas at least 3 different times/three different tracks.
As a big advocate of safety, this is disturbing to me.
What are some solutions, looking for creative/constructive ideas(no bashing or I'll have your post deleted)
And the next time the announcer tells your kid to get back from the fence, don't look at him with a GFY look....
<<<steps away from dais

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I guess first thing is don't have a catwalk / seating that doesn't have a fence in front of it.

 

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1 hour ago, arob said:

I guess first thing is don't have a catwalk / seating that doesn't have a fence in front of it.

 

In the one case the catwalk you would think is high enough....it has a k-barrier/fence below it.

In the other two cases, a sprint car and midget went over/through the fence into the grandstands. Not just parts, the whole car.

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While on this safety issue when are dirt tracks going to do something about tractor tires in the turns. These tractor tires tear up more racecars than walls do.  Its not hard to build a berm or curb around the bottom. Most these dirt tracks have a grader and can build a curb up or if they have the tires don't prep down there by the tires.

 

The sprint car at atomic went through a portion of the fence that I think (don't quote me on this) was an old piece or just put up as they have been adding walls at the track. Kevin Swindell has been very vocal about this on twitter and said earlier this year that it was going to be an issue. The good thing is that the fan that was hurt is in good condition even with a broke back and said that cant wait to be back ay Atomic to enjoy the races.

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Racers always talk after something happens.  Maybe racers should take some responsibility too,  they need to refuse to get on the track if they see an unsafe environment.   It is easy to say blah blah blah after someone gets killed.  If I thought I might kill someone, I am not doing it.  

 

Dont blame to bartender or bar owner is you get drunk and kill someone.  Take some responsibility

Edited by toyotatim

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I saw an incident at New Smyrna Beach in '95 where a car got turned, and the nose went over and along the top of the front-straight wall and took out three or four poles of the catch-fence. The people in the first couple of rows in the bleachers probably got considerably more excitement than they wanted/expected on that restart. So this is something that has concerned me a bit, too.

I seem to recall some fences that go straight up - there is no angle out over the track near the top. So that's one suggestion - always have the catch fence angle out over the track to catch flying parts sooner.

Also, thicker (bigger diameter, thicker wall) catch fence poles, with heavy cable lines every 5-6 feet up the fence. Some tracks have cabling connecting the poles and acting as a containment (like the highway department has in medians to prevent cross-overs) between poles, but I think some do not. And a little distance between the wall and catch fence.

An impact-absorbing barrier could be helpful - doesn't have to be SAFER barrier (maybe steel plate, cables, and old tires?), but something to absorb a little energy before the car tries to launch over the wall.

I don't know what you can do about sprints/midgets getting airborne and potentially going over a wall. I've seen some very spectacular pictures of sprint cars well up in the air, and I suspect those started when one car wheel-launched over another. Perhaps some started when a car got turned toward the wall and already had some wheels off the ground when it hit, so the impact sent it end-over end and airborne? In that case, maybe an impact barrier might help.

NASCAR and/or the Indy cars have encountered most of this over the years (think about Bobby Allison's ride when he took down the catch fence at Talledega). Unfortunately, they mostly require renovations/modifications that are expensive for a local short-track.

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Racing is a dangerous sport; period.  Yes, there has been a huge amount of safety innovations in recent years but racing will always have a high risk of something going wrong.  If you have ever been to Perris auto speedway you know the catch fence is extremely high.  I personally never thought a car could clear the fence but Austin Williams did it a few years ago.   No matter the safety enhancement in racing you will always have a failure.  People in general need to use good common sense attending the races.  This goes for racers and fans alike.  How many times have you been to the track under green flag conditions and walked down from the stands, along the catch fence, to go to the concessions?  Most people have but this is not the smartest thing to perform.  Spectators need to understand they go to a race then the probability of mistake is high.  The recent events are unfortunate but those hurt need to be accountable for putting themselves in a risky environment in the first place.  My soapbox for the day.  

 

 

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4 hours ago, PAPosse said:

That's one of the directions I was going with my post. Then, there's the question of how high is high enough?

6 hours ago, Josh42 said:

While on this safety issue when are dirt tracks going to do something about tractor tires in the turns. These tractor tires tear up more racecars than walls do.  Its not hard to build a berm or curb around the bottom. Most these dirt tracks have a grader and can build a curb up or if they have the tires don't prep down there by the tires.

 

The sprint car at atomic went through a portion of the fence that I think (don't quote me on this) was an old piece or just put up as they have been adding walls at the track. Kevin Swindell has been very vocal about this on twitter and said earlier this year that it was going to be an issue. The good thing is that the fan that was hurt is in good condition even with a broke back and said that cant wait to be back ay Atomic to enjoy the races.

From the video PAPosse linked to, it looks like he went through a gap between the advertising boards and the catch fence. I guess the need is to have the catch fence begin on the side of the seating area, and have a pretty big buffer - but, obviously, there's a limit to how much of a buffer is possible. Evidently, Swindell wasn't there.

5 hours ago, toyotatim said:

Racers always talk after something happens.  Maybe racers should take some responsibility too,  they need to refuse to get on the track if they see an unsafe environment.   It is easy to say blah blah blah after someone gets killed.  If I thought I might kill someone, I am not doing it.  

 

Dont blame to bartender or bar owner is you get drunk and kill someone.  Take some responsibility

So, Tim - you're blaming the fan(s) who sat in an area he/they probably thought would be safe? After all, they were behind the fence and I'm sure they didn't expect a car to come crashing between the advertising boards and catch fence. At least one racer (Kevin Swindell) apparently thought there was something unsafe, but it was probably from his perspective as a driver and not with regard to the fans. And that's very much a subjective thing. You might kill someone while you're driving somewhere (perhaps a person might step into the road in front of you without looking and you might run that person over and kill him/her) - so I guess you don't drive anywhere, Tim?

 

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7 hours ago, toyotatim said:

Racers always talk after something happens.  Maybe racers should take some responsibility too,  they need to refuse to get on the track if they see an unsafe environment.   It is easy to say blah blah blah after someone gets killed.  If I thought I might kill someone, I am not doing it.  

 

Dont blame to bartender or bar owner is you get drunk and kill someone.  Take some responsibility

Just a heads up after the wreck happened at Atomic the AllStar Circuit of Sprint Cars called their race and did not finish after only running 3 heat races.  There was close to 40 sprint cars on sight for this race as Ohio Sprint Speedweek has been pretty much ruined by rain.  So half these guys never even got to race and chose safety over it.  Kevin Swindell said point blank on twitter that he didn't feel the track and new wall was safe and that is why his team did not participate.  In fact Kevin Swindell has made a point to tell track owners if they want some help coming up with ideas to make their tracks safer he will gladly help them with his ideas and thoughts.

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Oh boy I'm gonna get heat on this one but I see where Tim is coming from. Where sprint cars are involved I would have never stood on the catwalk at HOT. For that matter I would never stand along the turns at any track. Over the many years of spectating I've seen injuries to serious injuries to people watching from the turns wherever the pits were located.NO ONE should be allowed to watch from turn walls especially standing. As for the catwalk at HOT or similar stands at other tracks no one should be allowed to watch from there when sprint cars are racing . We all know the heights the car and their parts can achieve in an accident .As for the spectator side of things the catch fence should be slightly angled towards the track. When you said race cars/parts I assumed you were talking about sprint cars. My comments are pretty much based on them.

 

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2 hours ago, kgould said:

Racing is a dangerous sport; period.  Yes, there has been a huge amount of safety innovations in recent years but racing will always have a high risk of something going wrong.  If you have ever been to Perris auto speedway you know the catch fence is extremely high.  I personally never thought a car could clear the fence but Austin Williams did it a few years ago.   No matter the safety enhancement in racing you will always have a failure.  People in general need to use good common sense attending the races.  This goes for racers and fans alike.  How many times have you been to the track under green flag conditions and walked down from the stands, along the catch fence, to go to the concessions?  Most people have but this is not the smartest thing to perform.  Spectators need to understand they go to a race then the probability of mistake is high.  The recent events are unfortunate but those hurt need to be accountable for putting themselves in a risky environment in the first place.  My soapbox for the day.  

 

 

I was surprised to see Perris mentioned.  To put it in perspective:

I didn’t want to get on my soapbox either, but there were a few things my dad drove into me when I was a kid:

1. The corners are a dangerous place to watch a race.

2. Don’t ever turn your back to the track.

3. Don’t sit where the cars are coming straight at you - “But dad, those Outlaws look awesome coming down the straight away”

4. Once physics takes over - you can’t predict whats going to happen.

As most of us know, sprint car tires are lighter than they appear to be, and they will bounce quite a ways.  You would not catch  me on that catwalk.

My mom almost got hit by a tire in the pits at Fonda, NY in the mid 80s. She luckily jumped into the hauler and closed the door before the tire reached our pit stall.  We were a good 200 feet from the fence and it totally caved in the side of the door.  

Back to Perris, I agree the fence is one of the highest I have seen, and it looks to be pretty darn strong.  

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ALRIGHT>>>>>GEEZ

We're looking for solutions that won't ruin the tracks or racers financially....Not playing the blame game.....We can "what if" this mofo to death and never find a suitable solution....I mean we, as a collective group of racers, are creative enough to find ways around tech, rules, etc.....We should be able fix a problem before A) racers quit racing, B ) insurance companies quit insuring tracks, C) tracks close because the two fore-mentioned reasons.

FOCUS

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Every night at Texana Raceway I have to get kids and adults away from the catch fence.  They always act like I'm over-reacting.  I'm not, because impending disaster is racing right around the corner!

BTW, the announcer is wrong about that being the first car to clear the fence at Perris Auto Speedway. In 2003, I was sitting in the turn one grandstands (the same corner) and saw two sprint cars tangle, resulting in one going over the inside wall into the pits.

It landed on and killed two people...  

Edited by BeachBum

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I think anyone that's been going to the races long enough has a near-miss story at a minimum. Luckily, I haven't witnessed anything traffic.

I went to Indiana Sprint Week several years ago. We saw a sprint car flip over the fence in Terre Haute. Between 1&2 where there were no stands. In Haubstaudt, we saw a tire get loose, bounce over the fence between 1&2, cross the road, and end up several hundred feet into the adjacent corn field. If it had gone into the stands, it would have been very ugly.

Personally, I always sit close to T4. I feel safer at the exit of the corner as opposed to further along the straightaway.

Edited by TBone

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The scary thought really is for a race track, especially a seasoned one that may be a little outdated one is they are all one freak accident away from a horrible event. It's like the hit by a foul ball deal very hard to prevent every circumstance.

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I think about this every time I am at a race track. I was in the grandstands at the Indy Car Grand Prix of Houston in 2013 when Dario Franchitti's car became airborne on the last lap, and hit the catch fence in front of us. An entire section of fence flew into the bleachers, went over my head, and injured 13 people sitting right behind me. That was a very substantial fence too. The fences at many local tracks are merely "chain link" fences which were never designed to stop a race car. It scares me to death every time I see little kids playing around in front of the fence. Rodney is right about this. It is only a matter of time.

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There was only a couple of tracks we raced the sprint car at that I really felt comfortable about the catch fence.  KSP because I have seen sprint cars go into that fence and it held it.  The other track was Devils Bowl.  That track was built with sprint cars in mind and the gap between the wall and the fence helps save some of that. Now if I remember correctly someone did come close to clearing that fence one night and landed on the area between the wall and the fence.  I also like how they fixed the area along the back stretch back in the day it was just a run off into trees and I remember the Outlaw show in 93 someone flipping into the trees.

Now since nobody really paid attention to the one problem that I see every week at race tracks of tractor tires tearing up race cars let me bring up another possible problem.  Tracks that don't have backstretch or turn walls.  What's on the back side of those that you don't pay attention to.  Here is a picture Casey Shuman put on twitter of the backside of the backstretch of Lernerville.

We focus on the issue of things that happened 3 times in a two week period but lets not focus on the problems that happen every week.  The common answer and simple solution here is don't put bleachers in the entrance to the corners and in the middle of corners were most your flips will begin and end. Just like TBone said those cars went out of the track but there was no bleachers there because someone was smart enough to realize there could be a problem.

 

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Heck, I see entertainment opportunity with this stupid stunt.

So ... I'd stop the race, get a water cannon out, & blow his ignorant azz right  off that fence!!!  

Pretty sure everyone (except him) would enjoy the added value action!  :)

 

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