April 13, 2015

What kind of Mickey Mouse organization allows cars to run tracks the wrong way?

I propose a new tactic:  Safety Shaming.

Another instructor was killed at a track event because owners refuse to do the right thing.

I really don't want to hear from the "Motorsport is dangerous" crowd,  most of them probably don't race or instruct and in any case there a clear line between dangerous and plain idiotic.

I don't know the company, Exotic Driving, that ran this particular event, it seems to be one of those "experience" organizations that include the MSRP  with the cars specs. but the track is owned by Disney and operated by Richard Petty a name that should carry a modicum of respectability and responsibility beyond cashing checks.

Evidently Disney allowed someone to decide it would be fine to run cars clockwise on a track designed to be a counterclockwise oval and Exotic Driving was fine with it.

What could possibly go wrong?

One rule of safety is that if something can go wrong, sooner of later it will.  That's why the subject is so frustrating and so complicated to deal with.

What tragically happened here  however does not take a rocket scientist to calculate.   A car lost control on the fastest part of the track and skidded into the ARMCO protecting the service position.   The ARMCO is placed to protect from cars coming in the opposite direction,  hit from the wrong side it transforms into a deadly spear.

Another driving instructor killed and a driver's life possibly ruined for no reason other that organizers thinking about cashing checks first.


Read more HERE and HERE

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  1. Obviously this is a tragedy caused by ignorance and carelessness and I don't mean to be insensitive or rude. My question is at what point should the instructors have spoken up or refused to work? Having just taken a lot of safety training over the weekend, a common theme was that you have the right to refuse to work when you identify unsafe working conditions. Did the instructors not know any better than to identify running clockwise was deadly? Pressure from management? Something to think about.

  2. I totally agree with you, but it's hard to know specifics. Keep in mind that many times instructors at these events are not professionals. But look, in their video promotions they have Christian Fittipaldi, https://youtu.be/3ItEX42oS_s

    He obviously said it's safe and cashed the check before checking out the track, right?

    in the end the only way things will change at these type venues is if the people are educated to the issue and as consumers demand change.

  3. I'm leaning more towards a mechanical failure than to a driver's error, but have to agree that running it the right way would have had drastically different results. RIP.

  4. Exotic driving is a devision of the Richard Petty Driving Experience

  5. I'm not a racer, so of course I lack in depth knowledge, but I have a question.

    I have been driving 2 wheelers for more than a decade and have always
    driven with the thought that I am just sack of meat not sure to reach
    his destination alive or in one piece. This mindset has saved me several
    times and teached me how to drive safe for my own and others' sake.

    Every year that passes, every life that passes, we always have this discussion about safety. We have seen legendary (dangerous) circuits disappear or being modified to the point of being neutered for the sake of safety, and at the same time the explosion of track days.

    Don't you think all those new (and remodeled) circuits with their huge run-off areas have bred crappy drivers even at top-level? The way I see it, those circuits don't teach you fear and that mistakes are costly. They are breeding lead footed pilots who cannot learn from their mistakes because the tracks do not have limits anymore. Before, it was track / white line / grass / gravel / wall and you learned very quickly not to stray beyond the white line... One mistake and your race, or even life, was over. Now, well, we have those pathetic debates about wether or not pilot A should be penalized because he put 1 wheel outside when overtaking pilot B.
    I imagine drivers from yesteryear as much more aware of their mortality and slighlty more cautious.

    I know this particular case is about bad usage of the track and bad safety features, but I think the problem of "too much in the name of safety" should be adressed.

    Feel free to delete this message if you think it's inappropriate given the circumstances.

  6. I don't understand how this could have ever been considered a good idea. Whoever decided to run this track backwards for any purpose needs to be identified and held accountable, period. It doesn't matter why they did it, or how often, but the person who said 'You will run the course clockwise' is the one to start with.

    I'm also interested to hear about their safety efforts. Photos and video of this operation exist where the participants are not wearing helmets, with varying levels of concern given to basic training. I just...someone had to be responsible, somewhere. You don't just let people thrash expensive cars without the insurance companies, at the very least, trying to limit their liability by imposing requirements. So much fail. :/

  7. Yeah amazing they advertise running the track in the wrong direction. Which makes me think there's ignorance on all levels.

    Anyway, I completely agree with your point. This wasn't a freak death, it was 100% preventable with better knowledge of track safety.

  8. Sometimes you just don't see things... Sometimes you look at things and think, we could never get that far off track to have to worry about that.

    Back when Chuckwalla first opened, we all saw how dangerous the end of the pit wall is when running CW.
    Another driver pointed out the ditch on the backside by the off camber bit that would likely turn you over if you went off there.
    I'd driven over that hump many, many times and never noticed it... After he mentioned it, I couldn't not see it every time I went by.


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