Dark clouds hung over the Baja 500 when the sun finally set on Saturday. First I would like to offer my condolences to the families of Travis Livingston, Noah Evermann, and the young spectator. It is always a dark day when motorsports lose a racer, participator, or spectator. Over the past day I noticed a lot of people are upset at SCORE for not responding quick enough or having enough personnel at the race. I believe it is wrong that people are attacking SCORE over this in a race as spread out as the 500 no organizer will ever have enough people. In 2009 my father and I ran the entire season with Roger Norman, at every Mexico race every chase truck had a Cruz Rojas car with them which meant Roger took team safety seriously. Dust to Glory showed what happens, a spectator was hit and every rescue helicopter was 15-20 minutes away sometimes you can’t avoid it. Think about track racing they have medical personnel on the track and even they can’t get there fast enough. Racing will always be a dangerous sport for anyone one involved everyone knows this, Mexico especially. To blame SCORE for this though is wrong. Congratulations to Tavo Vildsola and Robbie Pierce and their team for the overall win, the 1x riders and Ox motorsports team for Pro Moto class, and Pat Dailey, Travis Clarke, Michael Loomis, Jaime Campbell and their entire pit crew for the Class 10 win.
Safety in Motorsports
Safety in motorsports… again. As mention in my last post my dad stressed safety to me all my life. Whenever I would go riding dirt bikes my father continuously told me to ride as if no one can see you, in fact that prepared me for being in a wheelchair. In the last two years both Formula 1 and Indy Car have lost drivers from freak accidents of debris striking the heads of drivers. First was Jules Bianchi from Formula 1 at the Japan Grand Prix in 2014, then more recently Justin Wilson in August 2015 at Pocono Raceway. Though its been awhile since their passing safety in racing should always be brought up. For the last few years Formula 1 has been working on designs to protect the drivers, The Halo- a Y shaped bar over the driver, Center Line Roll Hoop- three curved bars over the driver, Additional Frontal Protection- three fins that gradually curve up it rest in front of the driver, and Canopies- a window that seals in the driver much like a jet canopy. There are some drivers who do not approve of adding these design because they are “the worst looking mod in F1 history”. I’m surprised that there some drivers that don’t care how safety, thankfully F1 is choosing to ignore them and have been looking into design that would keep their drivers safe. Fortunately Indy is looking to implement some driver protection as well by 2017.
Safety in Motorsports
In 2014 NASCAR relaxed its rule of making sure every car that left pit road had all five lug nuts per wheel, this meant a car could leave pit road with 3 or 4 lug nuts on a wheel. Back in April of this year Tony Stewart was fined 35,000 dollars by NASCAR. Tony was fined for publicly speaking out against the lug nut rule, he felt NASCAR wasn’t keeping the drivers in a safe environment. For those who don’t understand why this is an issue; when a wheel doesn’t have all lug nuts securely fastened it will begin to wobble even at standard driving speeds this is dangerous, imagine it 200 miles per hour. At any speed the wheel could break off and send the driver into a wall or oncoming traffic. I thought this was an interesting topic since my father was a crew chief for fifteen plus years, there were many things he stressed to me when he began taking me to races first being a very long list of safety protocols he still stresses to this day and lug nuts. He always joked you don’t want to be the last guy who had changed a tire that ended up breaking off ten miles down the race course. What baffled me was the fact NASCAR even had a lug nut rule, I mean “why wouldn’t you put all five on?” why run the risk of having the tire fall off in the first place. I understand crew chiefs are looking for ways to shave time off their pit stops but if that endangers drivers it shouldn’t even be a thought. I commend Tony Stewart for speaking out against NASCAR and NASCAR for being quick to rectify it. Motorsports can be dangerous, participant, spectator, and staff safety should always be a priority.
The Assault Back into Racing
Though this is near two weeks since this race happened The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series in Lake Elsinore was the start of many more races that I will be attending. There is still a learning curve for me while attending the first few races. I only caught the pro 4 race before my body started to overheat of course the first race I return to and I end up getting sick. Still the race was full of excitement cars were battling all day, I was rooting for Rob Maccachren as I always have. Unfortunately something broke on Rob’s truck causing him to finish a lap down. My triumphant return to this sport didn’t go as well as I planned I still loved every minute of it. There some about this sport that makes it hard to get it out of your system, my dad often refers to it as a drug, you might be able to step away from this sport for a short time but something always draws people back I know my four years away from this sports caused me to go a little stir crazy but I can’t wait to return to attending every race like I used to. This will document my return and though there might be unforeseen problems I will undoubtedly run into nothing, will stop me from coming back to off road racing.