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#1
MPR22

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After seeing the injuries sustained this weekend I believe the SCCA and drivers should review their safety protocols and equipment.  

 

Things that should be reviewed, 

 

When should the double yellow be deployed.  

When should it be mandatory for a driver to go to a hospital.

When should a race be stopped.  

 

 

Not saying anything was done wrong, have no idea what was being said on the radios vs what was actually happening in real time on the track.

 

 


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#2
chris haldeman

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I would like too see us allowed too add an allowance too attach the lowest door bar too the rocker sill.
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#3
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Yellow and double yellow flags definition both state "slow down", what the hell does slow down mean. 100 mph to 90 mph??? or should it mean from whatever mph to 40 mph.

 

Also while reading about traumatic brain injuries, predictable issues related to tracks are discussed. Concrete walls, trees, embankments and so on, stuff that doesn't  move or give an inch. All energy absorbed by the car and human body.


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#4
Tom Hampton

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There is a point of diminishing return associated with continually stiffening of the cage structure. All that bending takes time to occur and uses energy which lessens the total acceleration experienced by the car and driver. If you stiffen it up so that doesn't happen, then energy will result in greater acceleration of the car and human inside.  How much more severe would Lee's injuries have been if those bars hadn't spread the energy across that addtional fraction of time as the car structure bent?  That said, on the driver's side there isn't the same amount of space for intrusion. 

 

I'm interested in the nature and cause of the 5 vetebral fractures that Willie sustained. The only thing that makes immediate sense is compression fractures, but I'm sure there are many other injury modes that I'm not aware of.  If they were compression fractures, what caused the forces to be parallel to the spinal axis? 


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#5
Ron Alan

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The minute we start throwing a double yellow for everything...the debate will change to "let us race"...we can see!  

 

What I would like to see is consistancy among SCCA...and always error on the side of a little extra safety. 

 

At Laguna, our region usually goes double yellow to get a car out of the gravel that is remotely in a vulnerable spot. It blew me away last year when SCCA National choose to leave 3 cars in the gravel...all vulnerable...during the SM championships. Not only did they leave them but they encouraged the drivers to GET OUT and walk behind the wall??? IMO this was a risk not worth taking on anyones part :(

 

On another note...god knows we have millions of discarded tires in the US...why do we have unprotected k walls on any track??????? 

Granted, I understand straightaways and walls inches away from the racing line...but that should be it. I have seen 3 serious accidents locally that injuries sustained may have been lessened with a little cushion  :cursing:


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#6
MPR22

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The minute we start throwing a double yellow for everything...the debate will change to "let us race"...we can see!  

 

What I would like to see is consistancy among SCCA...and always error on the side of a little extra safety. 

 

At Laguna, our region usually goes double yellow to get a car out of the gravel that is remotely in a vulnerable spot. It blew me away last year when SCCA National choose to leave 3 cars in the gravel...all vulnerable...during the SM championships. Not only did they leave them but they encouraged the drivers to GET OUT and walk behind the wall??? IMO this was a risk not worth taking on anyones part :(

 

On another note...god knows we have millions of discarded tires in the US...why do we have unprotected k walls on any track??????? 

Granted, I understand straightaways and walls inches away from the racing line...but that should be it. I have seen 3 serious accidents locally that injuries sustained may have been lessened with a little cushion  :cursing:

Tires barriers have positives and negatives, they absorb energy but they also tend to grab cars that would otherwise have had glancing blows.  So from a deployment standpoint, tires opposite side of the track from track out make sense as those impacts would tend to be more perpendicular in nature.  Kent Carters wreck at Hallett a few years ago maybe a tweener, not sure if it made it worse or better.  

 


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#7
Rob Burgoon

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I'm interested in the nature and cause of the 5 vetebral fractures that Willie sustained. The only thing that makes immediate sense is compression fractures, but I'm sure there are many other injury modes that I'm not aware of.  If they were compression fractures, what caused the forces to be parallel to the spinal axis? 

 

Too much downward angle on the shoulder belt anchor points?


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#8
Ron Alan

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Totally understand your comment Michael on the pros and cons. My comment really relates to those walls that you think no one could ever hit! It cant possible be a cost thing...


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#9
Tom Hampton

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The minute we start throwing a double yellow for everything...the debate will change to "let us race"...we can see!  

 

What I would like to see is consistancy among SCCA...and always error on the side of a little extra safety. 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:  I wasn't at this race, I'm new to racing and have never worked a corner.  So, I don't claim to be an expert about any those aspects.  I hate second guessing, and monday-morning quarterbacking. 

 

That said, I was at NASA race in April under almost exactly the same muddy, wet conditions.  If you go off in either turn 1 or turn 7 (and a few others), there is a very high probability that you are going to follow the exact same trajectory as any other car that goes off in the same corner.  Both turns are high speed, and flat-out.  Turn 1 is a little bit better because there is more pavement from the racing line to the outside edge to maaaybe manipulate your ultimate path.  But, in turn 7 you're going off in a hurry, and once you hit the grass you are a billiard ball. 

 

The conditions present in april (and presumably at this event too) make the off-track surface an ice-rink, and once you leave the surface (even two wheels) you are nothing more than a projectile.  So, if you go off in the same place, you will end up in the same place.  We all discussed that in depth at the driver's meeting in april.   In april we altered the usual NASA 3/4 car-width rule (to 1 full width, plus a little) to help prevent anyone dropping wheels and becoming a projectile.  Also, in april **most** off-track incidents became FCY rather quickly--there were a couple of notable exceptions. 

 

If you stop the video as soon as Willie's car is in view you can see the tracks from each car and you can see that this was inevitable the instant willie left the racing surface.  Arguably, it was set the second Willie's car lost control.  The video starts with Lee already stopped, and its 49 seconds from then before the crash occurs. It does not appear that the yellow was ever displayed at the T7 corner station---thus I'm assuming not at the T6 station either. 

 

It would seem that in these types of situations where it is known in advance that there is no traction off the racing surface and cars already OFF will be susceptible to a high-speed impact (from a car in a similar follow-up projectile situation) that FCY should be more immediate.  if better more concrete guidance can be provided on these types of special situations, then the FCY or even local waving yellow can be more quickly displayed and lessen the chance of a repeat occurence. 

 

Again, in some respects I hate this kind of second guessing.  And, even though I'm doing it (with some level of admitted naivity), it is NOT out of an interest in blaming those who were there and had to make whatever split second decision they did.  It is only out of an interest in assessing if there is anything to learn from the incident. 

 

I can and have accepted the risk of going home with a broken car, ribs, even limbs, or a concussion.  But, the risk of death, paralysis, or multiple vertebral fractures should be as far off the table as possible. 


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#10
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My missive here is triggered in part by Steve's posts on the TWS thread.

As an engineer I applaud Steve's goal of ensuring that decisions are being made based on facts and not emotion. However Steve “appears" to be suggesting that either safety research is not complete, or it is potentially inappropriately applied to Spec Miata racing. In general I genuinely don’t understand positions taken that suggest that improved safety design such as H&N devices, along with roll cage design, seat design and installation, seat belt application, safe walls, etc have not made a difference in reducing injury and death on race tracks. These safety improvements come from incredibly deep research and studies by many organizations including FIA, Nascar, SAE and universities. That drivers resist accepting and applying this research - either denying its veracity or declaring their right to be injured or die - bemuses me.

Steve, you may or may not be in this group (probably not?) but your posts put you on the opposite side of the research in my view. Perhaps I read your posts incorrectly, however they intimate that unless you can access a detailed list of deaths parsed through your selective grid, you are questioning the validity of information that H&N devices will save lives. Public data decries your position.

http://www-nrd.nhtsa...004_32/32-9.pdf
http://www.researchg...70ee2771833.pdf
H&N systems have been thoroughly tested by medical professionals and scientists and proven to commonly reduce neck stress to below lethal levels. We don’t need historical race data to validate these positions, we have dead test baboons.

http://hansdevice.co...k' Research.pdf
No doubt the cynic will say that HANS is twisting the facts to their advantage. Maybe so, but the numbers are compelling.

http://www.thatsraci...-the-track.html
This list does not address cause, but in conjunction with the HANS report is interesting.

http://www.hotrod.co...dale-earnhardt/
http://www.autopsyfi...rash_report.pdf
A detailed analysis of Dales death. Combination of issues. Mostly a belt separation and not attributable to lack of H&N restraint. The report suggests that no one could tell what might have happened if Dales seat belt did not loosen. Its not unreasonable to postulate that even with well performing seat belts, the level of impact would have caused severe injury or death as a result of BSF injury. In general I agree with you (Steve) that stories about lack of H&N device being the cause-in-fact of death are incorrect. This accident led to Nascar initiating a safety research group and working tightly in conjunction with the FIA to improve track safety.

https://www.google.c....93990622,d.cGU
A good FIA guide to general safety in closed cockpit cars.

http://www.nascar.co...ty-history.html
Here is a good analysis which reflect drivers resistance to improved safety efforts over decades. For some reason those of us at risk don’t seem to learn very quickly and typically have to have the safety improvement mandated. Its a testosterone thing I guess. If I was in charge I would never ask drivers to set the standard of safety We are not grown up enough :-)

Anyway – enough.

Cnj
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#11
mdavis

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The minute we start throwing a double yellow for everything...the debate will change to "let us race"...we can see!  

 

What I would like to see is consistancy among SCCA...and always error on the side of a little extra safety. 

 

At Laguna, our region usually goes double yellow to get a car out of the gravel that is remotely in a vulnerable spot. It blew me away last year when SCCA National choose to leave 3 cars in the gravel...all vulnerable...during the SM championships. Not only did they leave them but they encouraged the drivers to GET OUT and walk behind the wall??? IMO this was a risk not worth taking on anyones part :(

 

On another note...god knows we have millions of discarded tires in the US...why do we have unprotected k walls on any track??????? 

Granted, I understand straightaways and walls inches away from the racing line...but that should be it. I have seen 3 serious accidents locally that injuries sustained may have been lessened with a little cushion  :cursing:

Interestingly I stuck around until the last race this weekend at TWS.  All but one race went (6/7 groups) had a double yellow.  I'm not certain but would bet that after what happened with group 1 (SM) that race control erred on the side of caution.

 

To Craig's point- the science/physiology behind the HANS is sound.  


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#12
chris haldeman

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I'll settle for 1 attachment on drivers side. Overall stiffness minimally affected. Penetration on drivers side can not be acceptable
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#13
tLinder

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Disclaimer:  I wasn't at this race, I'm new to racing and have never worked a corner.  So, I don't claim to be an expert about any those aspects.  I hate second guessing, and monday-morning quarterbacking. 

 

That said, I was at NASA race in April under almost exactly the same muddy, wet conditions.  If you go off in either turn 1 or turn 7 (and a few others), there is a very high probability that you are going to follow the exact same trajectory as any other car that goes off in the same corner.  Both turns are high speed, and flat-out.  Turn 1 is a little bit better because there is more pavement from the racing line to the outside edge to maaaybe manipulate your ultimate path.  But, in turn 7 you're going off in a hurry, and once you hit the grass you are a billiard ball. 

 

The conditions present in april (and presumably at this event too) make the off-track surface an ice-rink, and once you leave the surface (even two wheels) you are nothing more than a projectile.  So, if you go off in the same place, you will end up in the same place.  We all discussed that in depth at the driver's meeting in april.   In april we altered the usual NASA 3/4 car-width rule (to 1 full width, plus a little) to help prevent anyone dropping wheels and becoming a projectile.  Also, in april **most** off-track incidents became FCY rather quickly--there were a couple of notable exceptions. 

 

If you stop the video as soon as Willie's car is in view you can see the tracks from each car and you can see that this was inevitable the instant willie left the racing surface.  Arguably, it was set the second Willie's car lost control.  The video starts with Lee already stopped, and its 49 seconds from then before the crash occurs. It does not appear that the yellow was ever displayed at the T7 corner station---thus I'm assuming not at the T6 station either.

 

To clarify. Lee was in P13 when he went off during lap 6, Willie was in P14 and he went on the next lap, 7.  There was a standing yellow flag in T7.  There were at least 2 cars off outside T5, Alex & Jason.  Jason went off on during lap 5, Alex went off during lap 7.  I thought a FCY would be coming out because of the cars off in T5.  I did not believe the position of Lee's car in T7 warranted a FCY, unless they were planning to extract his car during the race.

 

It would seem that in these types of situations where it is known in advance that there is no traction off the racing surface and cars already OFF will be susceptible to a high-speed impact (from a car in a similar follow-up projectile situation) that FCY should be more immediate.  if better more concrete guidance can be provided on these types of special situations, then the FCY or even local waving yellow can be more quickly displayed and lessen the chance of a repeat occurrence. 

 

Again, in some respects I hate this kind of second guessing.  And, even though I'm doing it (with some level of admitted nativity), it is NOT out of an interest in blaming those who were there and had to make whatever split second decision they did.  It is only out of an interest in assessing if there is anything to learn from the incident. 

 

I can and have accepted the risk of going home with a broken car, ribs, even limbs, or a concussion.  But, the risk of death, paralysis, or multiple vertebral fractures should be as far off the table as possible. 

 

Chris' suggestion about attaching the lowest door bar to the rocker sill sounds like a wise suggestion.  (I fear if Lee had taken a driver's side impact that we would be having a somber discussion about how to prevent a fatality). 


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#14
Tom Hampton

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I'll settle for 1 attachment on drivers side. Overall stiffness minimally affected. Penetration on drivers side can not be acceptable


Agreed. I'd rather someone do some stress analysis to determine the right answer for both sides of the cage. Designing to these types of loads and yielding stresses is complex.

On track crash testing is a bad way to find problems, and test designs.

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#15
Todd Lamb

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Actually if you look at how the pass door / sill bars were designed - there is very minimal movement of the bars.

The biggest problem on the driver side would be a concussion. Being 6'3" I have VERY little clearance between my helmet and the top bar. And that's with us moving the seat down and right as far as possible and redesigning the cage for maximum clearance.

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#16
Ron Alan

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Actually if you look at how the pass door / sill bars were designed - there is very minimal movement of the bars.

The biggest problem on the driver side would be a concussion. Being 6'3" I have VERY little clearance between my helmet and the top bar. And that's with us moving the seat down and right as far as possible and redesigning the cage for maximum clearance.

Maybe Lee can verify how much that lower bar did or didnt move? If it moved a lot an attachment point failed i assume? 

I always wondered about this particular design since the lower door bar is pretty close to the seat. 


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#17
Ron Alan

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I think for the most part all slow down a bunch for a waving yellow. But once the incident has been seen by all and a standing yellow remains(and in some cases removed)its race pace again! Under dry conditions its understandable. Maybe in this case(TWS), given the conditions, a waving flag should remain if in fact the track isnt going to go double yellow?

 

NASA does lots of hot tows...and for sure this isnt ideal either, but generally it works. Does SCCA ever do hot tows? Not debating if this is write or wrong...just asking others opinions. 

 

As Bench indicated...going off in a yellow flag turn will raise some eyebrows...not sure what SCCA/NASA can do about that?


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#18
chris haldeman

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Lees car is in my possession. Both door bars are shaped like a banana. Lower bar ripped free of the main hoop taking a chunk with it. Upper bar pushed halfway thru the main hoop as expected because of angled design. Hit was below lower bar and unusual for us because lees car was nose high stuck on a bank. Rocker sill is almost touching the ground with 4.5 inch clearance at edges of front and rear. I'll point out cage was not designed for this type of upward hit. Hit and damage was made worse because of the car being dug in the mud.
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#19
chris haldeman

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Lower bar is 2 inches away from hoop but center point between hoop and down bars the assembly is in 6-7 inches. Farther inward than the factory seat bolt holes
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#20
Joe Cooley

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Too much downward angle on the shoulder belt anchor points?

 

 

It's not an uncommon injury in the formula car world and I wonder if the same thing happened here.  In many formula cars the drivers legs are going up and over the fire bottle.  That creates a 'pinch point'  As the body moves forward the butt is pushed upwards while the shoulders are being held down by the belts.  Because many people are running older cars where there isn't room to put in a good bead seat to compress and protect the driver they get the injuries that we don't see in top level formula cars because they have a larger margin of safety.  

 

Lots of people have their seat tilted back for driver comfort, getting hands and feet the right distances, etc.  This causes the same problem.  The butt moves up and the shoulders stay the same level causing a compression of the spine.  F1 and Indy have at least 2.5" of compressible impact materials under the but of the driver.  That helps prevent the compression injuries.  


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