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rebelracewriter

Safety first

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Anyone that knows me knows why I'm such a safety freak on racecars/boats of any kind....Like all serious crashes/injuries there are always knee-jerk reactions, most of which are not the answer....Now I'm not a fab guy or engineer or knowledgeable about sfi ratings or expert on fuel volatility by any means....I don't the guy who came up with this idea so I'm not promoting for a friend, but this may be viable....Now there's going to be those who simply say, oh great more costs as they strap themselves into their $25-40k +/- time bomb.....Anyway, just thought I'd pass this along for everyone's perusal and thoughts....Let's keep it positive/factual....Thanx!

 
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Robby Johns to Asphalt Super Late Models

Prayers go out to the Bonnetts and a speedy recovery!

Which brings me to the point we need a safer way to race with fuel onboard and the cars that are lightweight by design and the speeds they are carrying.

My story starts at Daytona for the very first truck race and I was in the truck 14 pits helping any that I could.

Geoff Bodine hits the wall in front of us and the fire was so intense and so quick that it had me wondering about the safety of the tanks.

Me being a fabricator and welding engineer of my own education through years of projects I began thinking on my long way home to NC after the race. 12 hrs and I came up with making an outside protective barrier that would keep it all intact.

That is the key, we have to keep the filler neck and the fill plate with the cell in any case it is damaged or leaves the car. 12 people were burned in Daytona in the stands from the truck wreck.

So I make all the preparations and build my first prototype to go to Daytona and meet with Nascar, things went well.

They said it had merit to continue and I did for 12 years after that and all it came down to was I had to pay for licensing and testing to be accepted as an approved device to use in Nascar. As per Jerry Cook, if not then I was wasting his and my time.

I have had many folks through the 19 years I have pushed for this in racing to tell me it was the best thing since the fuel cell itself.

Humpy Wheeler had great comments and thoughts but seems it falls on deaf ears so I am posting this to let folks know I am in the beginning stages of getting these made and hope to have a definite price list out soon on all types of safety vest I make.

To tell you a little about the unit, it is a ballistic fireproof nylon with a fuel absorbent thick liner inside and has sleeves to protect the lines and fill.

I make the unit so that the fill plate on the quarter panel stays with the tank even if broken off inside from the plate.

The absorbent liner has the capabilities of soaking up many more gallons than is in the tank full so it acts as a diaper.

With the outer shell being like a bullet proof vest it has very well non-abrasion and non-puncture capabilities and does well in crushed applications.

I am not claiming it will contain every drop if the event it had a hole in it but the wicking effect will certainly slow and help contain to a small area than when the cell is compromised and then has an outlet to spray fuel everywhere.

Think of it this way, it would be like crushing a glass bottle in a thick absorbent sock verses it being crushed unprotected. The fuel cell design is a great design until it is compromised, then its just an open container of fuel.

At least with a vest you have some sort of exterior protection in case the tank fails.

This pic is of Jimmy Spencer's Yellow Freight #1 Busch car in 2002 when he won. This is going through tech and after that Nascar said it was not an approved device and could no longer run them.

In today's racing it is such a pay to play game and I am a modest man trying to help racing be a safer sport and make minimum on my units because there are so many that made some things in racing ridiculously priced and if I can make a few dollars and save a racer from being burned that is my goal and mission.

Thank you, Robby Johns 850-428-3622

 
 
 

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As a matter of discussion, because I am no engineer and the farthest thing from an expert.  I think with Bonnett’s accident I would really look at how the cell came entirely out of another car in the first place..  How could it have been better secured?  Without rupturing of course.

The freak nature of that accident resulted in the fuel cell from another car coming to rest against Bonnett’s.  Safety crews went in and got him as he struggled to get out with a broken leg.

There is a lot to look at here.  The device seems practical enough, just wondering what kind of testing has been done? 

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Looks to be a Great Idea !!!   If you've ever talked safety with me you've probably heard me say "Fire Doesn't Discriminate"  Burning in a Eco-Stock is the same as Burning in a Modified or LateModel 

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Talked in depth with a tech guy last weekend after that shunt. The question we both asked was how did that cell break loose! Back ass of the car was cleanly broken. Boys and Girls please spend that XTRA $ on safety all the speed you gain on motor and suspension in the grey area means nothing when your safety gear fails.

We may not be going 200 mph but when you stop it abruptly it has those results at times. I wondered why DCRST was so strict back in the day and after damn near bouncing my melon head off the wall at CTS I realized why.

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The freak nature of that accident resulted in the fuel cell from another car coming to rest against Bonnett’s.  Safety crews went in and got him as he struggled to get out with a broken leg

Rob, Certainly this accident was an anomaly.....But that goes to the whole thought process of "that won't ever happen to me."....When I watched the boy in Abilene burn to death it was a series of things leading to the perfect storm, if you will.....The rollover was an easy 1/2 roll to roof....The D-ring fuel cap was not on/not on properly.....The car landed pointing down the banking allowing fuel to run through the cockpit area....It ignited on either the headers or heat from brakes.....His hans device got hung up on the full containment seat and/or steering wheel which hampered his exit....That image is one I'll never forget.

I still see guys on-track racing without gloves.....One of the simplest, least expensive safety items to have. Not wearing any/all safety gear while track packing.

I won't even go into the drag strip stuff and their lack of full drivers suits or no helmets in the street racer class(es) because they aren't mandated until they reach a certain ET/Speed plateau.

Shit like that drives me crazy!

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3 hours ago, rebelracewriter said:

Rob, Certainly this accident was an anomaly.....But that goes to the whole thought process of "that won't ever happen to me."....When I watched the boy in Abilene burn to death it was a series of things leading to the perfect storm, if you will.....The rollover was an easy 1/2 roll to roof....The D-ring fuel cap was not on/not on properly.....The car landed pointing down the banking allowing fuel to run through the cockpit area....It ignited on either the headers or heat from brakes.....His hans device got hung up on the full containment seat and/or steering wheel which hampered his exit....That image is one I'll never forget.

I still see guys on-track racing without gloves.....One of the simplest, least expensive safety items to have. Not wearing any/all safety gear while track packing.

I won't even go into the drag strip stuff and their lack of full drivers suits or no helmets in the street racer class(es) because they aren't mandated until they reach a certain ET/Speed plateau.

Shit like that drives me crazy!

I agree Reb.  I didn't mean to imply it was an anomaly so it doesn't need to be looked at to see what could have been done to keep it from happening.  Ideally, the cell would have stayed in the car and, if it had, the chances of fire would have been minimized.  The device you posted addresses a worst case scenario which, of course, is what safety is all about.  Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Anybody who's watched the various angles of the accident available thanks to social media knows there are a lot of things to look at with this accident - on the track, in the cars, in the infield - it could have been so much worse...thankfully everyone is still here to try and learn from it.

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Since this topic came up on here, it got me to thinking.  I remember somewhere on this site, probably in the History Section, there is an incredible FIRE pic taken at Pam Am in SA in the late 60's I think.  If I can find it I'll repost it here.

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OK. Here it is. Taken 1975 at Pan Am.  I've always thought this amazing pic to be in the top four or five ever posted on this site.  We've all seen many, many pics of race cars, drivers, wrecked race cars, upside down race cars, burning race cars, etc. etc. …………  But have you ever actually SEEN  THE FIRE DEMON?   Here it is …….

 

 

PanAmFirePic..jpg

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2 hours ago, Budman said:

OK. Here it is. Taken 1975 at Pan Am.  I've always thought this amazing pic to be in the top four or five ever posted on this site.  We've all seen many, many pics of race cars, drivers, wrecked race cars, upside down race cars, burning race cars, etc. etc. …………  But have you ever actually SEEN  THE FIRE DEMON?   Here it is …….

I think the amazing part is seeing the driver crawl out before the safety crew arrives.  Keep in mind that he's coming out the passenger side because the driver's side is against the wall and burning.  Fire suits weren't a thing back then, I can only recall one person who wore one (I think.....).   Safety crews didn't wear them either (and usually still don't, at tracks I've attended).

Edited by Bobby

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Gary drove that yellow Mazda rotary called the "Humdinger"  Loudest car on the track for sure!

 

 

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