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Modified Rollover Last Night


Mike Riley

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Last night, in modified heat 2, the #77 rolled over going into turn 4. The car ended up on it's roof and was leaking fuel. I asked the firecrew after the races where the fuel was coming from and if the car had the required flapper valve. The firecrew investigated the fuel cell and found no violations or where the fuel was leaking from.

 

I am sure that fire is everyone's biggest fear and we need to take this incident and learn from it. Where was the fuel leaking from? If anyone knows the #77 driver, maybe he can investigate a little more and let us know. Remember the Abilene incident?...I'm sure that is fresh in everyone's mind. No one wants to be burned alive.

 

As always, the firecrew did a great job of getting the driver out and away from the car and they were ready with fire extinguishers.

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Good post Mike!!!! We have to take this shhhhhtuff very seriously!!!

 

I wasn't there so I can only speculate......but I've seen the cheap neoprene flappers warp after contact with fuel....was it a gas or alcohol car? Don't be fooling yourself thinking those type flappers are fool-proof....check them regularly while refueling.

There's also the overflow tube, did that have a tip-over valve of some type on it as well?

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I can certainly understand that there is no fool proof solution to the problem. A hard enough impact can ruin the integrity of any fuel cell or fuel system. I think it would be a good idea for all of us to know what happened. Containing the fuel in a rollover has got to be the #1 safety issue at hand.

 

I have not heard how these neopreme flappers work after being in contact with fuel. Maybe somebody will have some feedback on that. Maybe IMCA (that mandates the flappers) would have more info.

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as being a racetrack fire fighter for many years we were trained for racecar fires and emergency extrication, ie: jaws of life, k12 saw and have collelge certification to back,any voluntieer or pain fire fighter can be the best heros on a house fire they are highly trained, when they go in when everyone is running out makes the above the call of duty and the best there is, they do go thru alot of training, BUT, how many like Taz and some others fully know the racecar and what can happen and where and what fuel, I would love assist with the help of some other knowledgable fire fighters who know racecars at tracks to get them to know the car and the differenced between cars and what the up against. we need are drivers as save as they can.

 

Michael

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While at the Pro Cuts race @ TMS, one of guys I know had his flapper tear off at the stitched seam and fall into the fuel cell. In talking to several drivers, they mentioned that after only a few races/practices that they would tend to warp(after contact with racing fuel)....which would cause them NOT to seal properly.

 

There are several different versions and types of tip-over systems out there.....remember.....cheapest doesn't mean best!

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Mike,

 

From what I could see, it looked like it was a small stream of fuel running down into the drivers compartment. I can't say for sure, but this happened to me one time in Oklahoma City while I was racing there. It was the overflow/bypass nozzle on the fuel cell. They are supposed to have a shutoff ball that falls down if the car becomes inverted to shut off the fuel flow, but some older cells dont. If the car doesnt have a return regulator, that opening on the top of the fuel cell is sometimes left open. Like I said, just what I couuld tell from where I was standing, but the main lid and flapper in the tank looked to be inatct and do their job.

 

Great job to everyone who responded so quickly to ensure the saftey of the driver and all arround.

 

BTW...it WAS a full moon night.... B)

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I assume when you guys mention the overflow/bypass you are talking about the vent line that allows air in as the fuel is being used by the engine. If the vent hose is run below the fuel cell, when the fuel cell is turned over the end of the vent hose will be higher than the fuel cell and prevent a siphoning of the fuel out of the cell.

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  • 10 months later...

Every one should check the flappers in your fuel cell on a regular basis. There have been instances where they have torn. I have several options for the racers to correct the problems. Much depends on the brand & type of cells you have. If you have questions please give me a call to discuss. Gary Swenson 210 3784848

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  • 2 months later...

As Reb mentioned, and has been dicussed before, the rubber flappers (dare I say it) suck. It's a bad, misleading, bandaid. Spring loaded metal flappers with a viton seal, locking or fine-threaded caps. Vent line w/ball check, routed below cell (as mentioned earlier). Battery strapped hard and fast, encased in plastic, with external leads fused and isolated. Spend the money. Just do it. Take the time to think about "what if" and test the equipment. It's not only YOUR life at risk. Some tracks have fire/ems crews with the proper equipment and training, reducing the risk to themselves and others. Some have Joe with jeans and a tshirt, and an extinguisher or equivilant in the back of a truck. Hmmm. What happened in Abilene didn't need to, but it did happen. It may never happen again, what are you willing to wager? Money is cheap....

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Dont just risk your life on a piece of rubber. Dont trust it either. Im sure its fine but.... Get a good can with a screw on cap that is self sealing. When tight its a mother to open up normally. Put a check valve in the vent line make sure it works and on the vent line put in a good service loop and secure it from moving around while racing. Also check your fuel line like Greg said. It doesnt matter if you have the blue racing fuel line. Last year ours started dry cracking on the outside. It was still holding up to the pressure at the time but we just replaced it anyways. We run every inch of our fuel line in electrical conduit for protection from welding or somekind of crash. Make sure if the motor gets pushed over several inches or the gas can gets knocked over a couple inches it doesnt jerk the line loose due to strain. Spend a couple extra minutes and a few dollars so we can see you on the finish results page and not the newspaper.

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