Noble Div. 4 to be 1000'

Discussion in 'System One Pit Buzz' started by Will Hanna, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    Haven't confirmed whether or not Reynolds will be or not, but I just got the word that the Noble Div. 4 event will be 1000'

    Hat's off to the NHRA for making the right decision.
     
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  2. john348

    john348 Top Alcohol

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    Will
    I hate to argue with you but wouldn't the right decision be to fix the shutdown areas, lets face it as long as we continue to start the car knowing it is not safe at the other end they will continue to do nothing.:eek:
     
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  3. afuelracer

    afuelracer Member

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    1000' at noble

    From where I stood watching all of the Martindale tragidy as it happened the length of the shutdown would not have made much difference in this case, as the car seemed to if anything pickup speed as it came to the end of the track. Seems to me if you just shorten the race all you have done is given the people in charge a excuse not make the sand pit "soft" and the net up to "snuff".
     
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  4. Nathan Sitko - 625 TAD/TAFC

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    Agreed. Fix the problem tracks. If they don't, take the race away and put it somewhere that will. Same with national events. I hate to sound stubborn, but if your track can't handle a quarter-mile pass and you can't or won't fix it due to whatever reason put the race somewhere else.
     
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  5. Wes Tarkington

    Wes Tarkington Megalomaniac

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    To fix many (or all) of the 1/4 mile divisional and national tracks the cost per venue would average at least $250,000...and that's just to install the proper catch areas. We haven't even begun to explore the installation of better barrier systems yet. There are only a small percentage of facilities in existence today that qualify as "safe" for 1320' racing. So you have to wonder where that cash is going to come from? If you live under the illusion that tracks and sanctioning bodies have that kind of money in the coffers then I don't want you doing MY finances!

    1000' is here to stay, period. I am stunned that it took this long for NHRA to imposed the distance on TAD/TAFC, Top Dragster, Top Sportsman, and even Super Comp. It's not just the speeds...it's the ever-increasing weights of each and every car in those mentioned classes. Ask a Super Comp guy how much a 4-link dragster with a 600+ cubic inch engine, complete cooling/charging systems, and the tubing to certify to 6.30 weighs these days...you'll be shocked.

    Instead of bantering and complaining about "fix the tracks" why not take YOUR racing safety into your own hands. If you attend a divisional event at a track that doesn't meet the standards we've all come to accept in the recent months you have a choice whether to race or not. Not NHRA, not the track owner, not a car owner, not a sponsor, nor a fan has the right to require you to drive down a track that is sub-par in the safety guidelines. If I have to make the decision between running 1/4 mile at a higher risk factor than 1000' or even 660', the choice is too damn obvious. Should be for everyone else, too.
     
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  6. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    1000'

    Here's the link to the DragRacingOnline.com column I wrote last week:

    http://dragracingonline.com/columns/hanna/x_10-1.html

    1000' is not the permanent answer, but it's about the only thing that can be done in the amount of time we have to deal with.

    We've been racing this sport for a long time. Sadly, many of the safety advances we have made over the years have came as the result of someone getting killed or severely injured.

    This move will slow the cars down and give them more shutdown.

    The real answer needs to be to implement a standard sand trap/net system to keep the cars on the track. That's just not possible in the amount of time until these races.

    Are we supposed to go to these next few races with our fingers crossed and hope it doesn't happen again? Cancel the race?

    I would still like to see some sort of water barrels or nets installed at these tracks in addition to the 1000' distance.
     
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  7. Woodchip

    Woodchip Top Alcohol Dragster

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    I was always under the impression that sand was cheaper than hard pea gravel. which is sometimes used as driveways at the shore here in the northeast.
     
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  8. mbaker3

    mbaker3 New Member

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    John348,
    that is a good point, too often "we", as racers, and "they" as track owners, try to fix the symptoms and really don't look at the true cause of a problem.
    All of our cars are going faster now than they did when these tracks were developed and built. We have newer parts, more advanced technology, better octane, alcohol, etc.
    I cannot even imagine the terror going through my head when my brakes, chute, or just my reaction to the situation shows me that I am headed for the sand traps and the fence at 200 MPH!
    Knowing that the track owner and NHRA have discussed this and have a plan for improvement is a lot more comforting than, ............. "OH Crap" !!
    I'm just a 180 MPH guy. Hitting a "barrier" at my speed would certainly result in the same catastrophe as a 315 MPH guy!
     
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  9. The Leveler

    The Leveler New Member

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    overreaction to life

    Although I agree that we need to be pro-active about saftey(wich all of the stuff going on is reactive) I think all of the powers that be need to look at this from a realistic perspective PEOPLE DIE. if the line of thought that has been going around surrounding the recent deaths goes too far we won't be able to race anymore because we might die. I race, my wife races, my kids race, my brother races, we all take every precaution we can but I have been around racing my whole life. when I bought my first race car i knew the risk. When I was a kid my dad crashed a front engine top fuel car and broke his back and was burned. he went on to funny cars and years later he had a stuck throttle incedent and went off the end of the track at bonneville raceway (into the hard sand) and whipped the wheel and did brodies untill he ran out of fuel. we duct taped the body back together and won the race. they wouldnt even let you leave the pits with the front quarter of your funny car duct taped on these days (not that that is a bad thing) but anyone who thinks that we can make 2500-8000 horse powered swing sets "safe" or "contained" is a little more than delusional. i think we need to look at doing all we can to make every situation resonably safe. but think about it. skydivers arent expected to have the ground padded enough to save them when the reserve chute fails. fishermen arent required to wear scuba gear because some slip in the river and dround. don't get me wrong I am sad about the recent deaths as much as the next guy, but we all sign the same waiver of liability for a reason. plus from a statistical point of view it is still safer than driving to work;) I don't wan't to die ever! but I can only think of a few other things i would rather be doing. I know it's unpopular to write these things but think about what i have said deeply before you tear me a new one:eek:
     
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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  10. john348

    john348 Top Alcohol

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    What kind of money do you think this will cost a track owner if they don't do anything and some one sues them for negligent/wrongful death suite??
    you think it will be as cheap as 250K
    Most the tracks are substandard and need to be brought up to todays standards, cost of doing business..
    how many have done nothing to their tracks even after Scotts death,
    how much would it cost to at least make the sand traps soft or change them to, what it that stuff, oh yea "SAND"
    they could at least run a tractor mounted tiller thru a couple times a month
    how the hell much would that cost?:mad:
    Under your guidelines
    "Racing is not safe we shouldn't do it"
    I am sure glad you don't work for me with your i can't do it attitude
     
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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  11. 23/cobrajet/tee

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    ramblings

    I for one want to race the 1/4 mile. If I have to upgrade my saftey equipment and the saftey check of my car I am going to. I hope that we can have a zero fatality season in 2009.
    Ken
     
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  12. Wes Tarkington

    Wes Tarkington Megalomaniac

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    The problem is, John, that there are no standards as set forth by NHRA, IHRA, or the insurance carriers. Enforcement of any regulation is arbitrary at best. Since Scott's crash at E-Town only three tracks have produced the newest catch area design; Indy, Charlotte, and Ennis. Pomona is getting one as we speak. If you know anything about running a business you'll understand the nuances of budgets. Tracks run on very tight budgets each year and to require every national event track PLUS every divisional event track to magically make the quarter-million appear on the ledger would put many of them into Chapter 7.

    As far as fixing exsiting sand areas goes, you would imply that a track has one to begin with. There are far too many that don't...yet they are still allowed to host LODRS events...and Top Alky racers still attend and compete.

    Racing isn't 100% safe at ANY level, pal. It's part of the reason that draws us to it. But, all of us-racers, track operators, and sanctioning bodies-have lost sight of taking each and every step to decrease the odds of serious injury or fatalities from even the most benign on-track incident. This responsibility is not for one entity to bear.
     
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  13. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    over reaction?

    leveler, answer me this question then.

    let's just say that you could see in the future. you said your wife, and your kids drive. if you could see a freak accident happen to one of them, would you do what you could to change it?

    what if you were racing at an outlaw track, with one of your kids driving tad/tafc. the track has a reputation for not being thourogh on their cleanups. you look over and see the grass growing up around the ambulance. are you going to tell them, get in, this stuff is dangerous.

    i haven't lost a kid, but me and shelly howard were damn close. darrell russell was a good friend, role model. bobby martindale was a good friend too. jay meyer was like a dad to me growing up and i've seen him lifeflighted off the track. i don't mean to go all oprah on you as i've been accused before, but until you've buried a loved one, it's hard to really understand the motivation to prevent these deals.

    you can't prevent every accident, but you can prevent some. you can also minimize the harm to the driver through making changes. some changes are reactive, but at somepoint, you have to be proactive. do you wait until the blower belt breaks, then change it? most racers i know change it before it breaks.

    we get so caught up in the racing side of it, trying to make our cars go fast, trying to afford to do this, that safety can be swept under the rug. technically you don't need a helmet until you hit something. you don't need a firesuit until you're on fire. firebottles aren't needed until there's flame.

    just as sure as you're reading this, a similar accident will happen again. someones chutes and brakes will fail, sending them off the track at a high rate of speed. if it's you or your loved ones, it's going to be a little late to wish for a good trap/net then.

    like i said before, i don't think 1000' is THE definitive answer to the problem. i think it's creates a safer environment until changes can be made over the offseason.

    fixing the sand traps isn't the only thing. scoreboards are killers too. things need to be done to keep the cars between the guardrails and keep them from running off the end.
     
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  14. john348

    john348 Top Alcohol

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    My point is that they need to make a sand trap, for any track with car going over 200 mph, not just dirt or pea gravel but a actual beach to catch us if things go wrong and maintain it, or do not let them have the race, period
    not doing anything just proves to me they don't want to fix it unless we push the fact, this would not cost 1/4 million to do and it is a start.
     
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  15. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    agree

    Good point, but these things need to have a standard. Both fatalities happened on traps that should be the example of substandard. So JUST installing a sand trap isn't enough.

    Each track is going to be a case by case basis, in my opinion. If you have fixed objects, obsticles, etc., the sand trap will need to be more aggressive at stopping the car. If the track opens into a big pasture with minimal or no obsticles, the trap can be a little more forgiving.

    However, ask SG/SC racer Audie Wood about his throttle hung ride in his SC Chevelle at HRP with the conventional sand trap/net into an open pasture. If I remember correctly, he said he hit the sand wide open, and basically jumped the net. A 160+ mph car can easily be well over 200 by the time it reaches the end of the shutdown.
     
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  16. The Leveler

    The Leveler New Member

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    The inherint risk

    Will,
    I was afraid some would take that as if I don't care about safety. Wrong last week there was an oil down (antifreeze) at our local track (small track not much money or resources) not only did I refuse to let my wife go (she was next in line) until it was acceptable I helped clean the other guys mess up. Last year I licensed in tad in Earlville Iowa, nice track good shut down nothing on the big end but a plowed corn field a building and a moving truck on someone’s private property to stop the car. Most of the tracks are like that. Of all the tracks I have seen except Bandimeree. Here is my point Cars always have and always will go "Out of Control" that is fact. There is only so much feasibly that can be done. I'm not saying that we shouldn't do more and that we shouldn't look at making advancements in safety. I'm not saying that the people that have sand traps should ignore the sand consistency and let them harden beyond usefulness. I'm not saying that all of the deaths resulting from drag racing are not tragic. What I'm saying is since the days my dad drove the sanctioning bodies have mandated the working class boys out of the fast cars and made the faster "sportsman" classes pretty much untouchable. I personally am willing to get into a car that is sound with a reusable amount of safety gear ( fire suit, helmet, Hans, chute and brakes) and run at a track that has guard rails and enough space to readably shut my car down and have problems. but there are only so many things we can for-see and I personally don’t want to race in a protective bubble for 660 feet because some one is afraid ill go to fast. Winning is only a portion of why I race I WAN'T TO GO FASSSSTTT!!!! I'm not wreck less or stupid. My dragster runs 8 flat and pulls 3 foot wheelies. It’s all the fun I can afford right now. I don’t want to put a magic switch that shuts my car down when a potential problem arises that someone else thinks is too much fun. Or wrap my whole car in "protection" beyond REASON. When I was a kid I used to spend allot of time at Sue Wells (then it was Sue Spenser) pits and went to school with her daughter and when she died I was very sad. But a couple of weeks ago I was in sic racing and there was Stan with his car and driver testing there tad. If Nhra and the insurance companies want to make us stick Joe gismos up our butt so we can race our cars they should either pay for them or mandate the price in Reason. Like the seat belt crap you can’t tell me you haven’t seen thousands of dollars in perfect ally good seatbelts thrown in the trash or given to the off-roaders because a couple people had damaged ones that broke or the god awful expensive flame suits getting thrown in the trash. Nhra makes money at this. We don’t. They should have inspectors that don’t have the manufactures and profits in mind inspecting our stuff to see if it’s okay. And going to tracks to "See the sand traps" and make “Relative " decisions about what each track needs not mandate cookie cutter shut down areas that will shut down the tracks that cant afford 6 billion dollar facilities and make them reasonably safe. The insurance companies are going to mandate us out of racing but if Nhra pushed back a little (they couldn’t survive if we all lived in protective bubbles) we could make headway on both sides. RESONABLEY SAFE, AFFORDABLE RACING! As for my wife and kids I do all I can to keep them safe and more to try and teach them about WHAT COULD happen on a run and what you as a driver can do. Most accidents are either unavoidable or avoidable its up to the driver to avoid what they can the rest is just life. Do you carry a fire extinguisher every where you go" Just in case" no that would be unreasonable. Do I keep one in my truck and my race car trailer hell yes. Can I afford to put a fire system in my son's jr. no, nor would I on the one in ten million chance that he wrecks and catches fire and can’t get out and the safety personnel can’t get to him and I can’t haul ass on my four wheeler and get to him before he burns. Life happens. You can’t prevent that. I had a choice this year to buy my son a car; I found a fast car but upon inspection found a couple of small cracks in the frame. I could have bought it and welded the cracks and even put some small gussets in the area to strengthen it. Instead I went over to the manufactures and found the strongest chassis offered and bought a new car. My point is that the tracks should have some le-way, not all tracks are "Big Tracks" that can afford multi million dollars shut down areas and staffs of hundreds. It should my choice if I am willing to take the chance. Do I trust the track, do I know the risk, and do I still want to do it. MY CHOICE. Are there people that don’t know, yes? Personally I didn’t go to a school and learn to drive a race car? I couldn't afford that. Did I know what I was in for? Not entirely. Did I know that on my first full pass in a top alcohol dragster I was going to sweat so bad that when I dumped the clutch my right eye would fill with sweat? No. Did I work it out? Yes. 5.87 @ 232mph. would I do it again? Any time. If we knew what was going to end our lives we wouldn’t leave the house. Therefore we wouldn’t live. Think about it
     
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  17. Woodchip

    Woodchip Top Alcohol Dragster

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    I really don't understand why you need a "standard". The deficiencies i saw at the Englishtown shutoff several weeks ago were painfully obvious. To date the only thing they changed was a barrel in front of the poles and new 30 foot high chain link fence to catch debris from hitting a motorist on pension road. It is still hard packed pea gravel untilled to this day. It has nothing to do with having enough money to make the improvements. Englishtown has a new wide banking road course with all manner of concrete barriers and high road course catch fencing that in two years has never been used. They are constantly changing the landscape to make it a diverse motor sports park. lack of money? I think not. We all know what it is but we are not saying it. To change the features of a facility after a 'loss" to mitigate an accident is an admission of liability. Lawyers plain and simple. 2 year statute of limitations for personal injury. it is THEN you will see changes at facilities that had "losses" unless they are compelled by NHRA.
     
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  18. Wes Tarkington

    Wes Tarkington Megalomaniac

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    You bring up a major point, Woodchip! Not only would unscrupulous lawyers be watching E-Town for any action that could admit guilt, they are also watching for similar fatal incidents to see if they can also pounce on it. So drag racing is caught in a terrible Catch 22 situation here. I'm fairly certain that there are corporate attorney's guiding NHRA's efforts to create a standardization and implementation of the new and improved safety requirements...which is probably part of the reason why the change is coming so slow. Money is and always will be the biggest variable in such improvements but let's never forget the legal implications.
     
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  19. Mark Billington

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    Guys, I've read the comments here and thought about what I saw in Atlanta. Here are some facts and an opinion. I have known Bobby for several years, talked to him on several occaisions and have been at the race track with him in both previous events at Atlanta the day he died. I was strapped in my car in the third pair, watched him get in the car and heard the run. The facts of that day are 1) his car and equipment was way out of date. It may have passed inspection but if any of us looked at the car I bet you would not get in it. 2) he went to the track with no help, and got some folks locally to help him. Someone from another crew strapped him in. 3) he was on and off the throttle several times and I feel he over drove the car. All these instances contributed to his accident. My opinion is while we should expect the racetracks to provide the best facilities possible, we also have to take responsibility for ourselves. If you look at the vast majority of alcohol racers, they have good equipment, take care of it, prepare thmselves and their cars, and take responsibility for their own safety. This is how the sport will survive. You don't see the best racers in the class out there complaining, you see them acting responsibly and proactively.
     
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  20. fuelslut

    fuelslut New Member

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    you are 100% correct mark on all accounts.
    i saw most of it from the top end, as we were towing back to the pits.
    i knew Bobby a little, i've talked to him a few times, and he seemed like a great well liked guy.
    i've also seen him do a burnout in one lane and back up into the other lane and still be allowed to take the light......then kick all the rods out, oil down the track, and send the rest of the field back to the pits..
    so, you have to ask yourself, what reasonable action should be taken. i don't think racing to 1000 ft is reasonable. bobby's fate was sealed as soon as he was straped in. it wasn't the track that killed him.
    there are cars out there that shouldn't be allowed to race, just as there are drivers out there that shouldn't be allowed to run, even though they have a license. (i'm not gonna name names here) but we'll just say they paid their $8000 and went to school, now they are in the seat. Bobby doesn't fit in this catorgory but, there are a few that do, and unless these issues are addressed we will see more tragedies reguardless how far they race, how fast they go, or what new safty gizmo you attach to the car.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2008

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