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Bad Accident At BAPS

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  • Bad Accident At BAPS

    I just read on another forum that Greg Hodnett was involved in a bad accident at BAPS Motor Speedway in PA this evening. They cancelled the rest of the 358 program apparently.

    Edit: I just read that Greg has passed away from his injuries. RIP.
    Last edited by Mud Packer; 3 weeks ago.

  • #2
    This is a time to remember him along with caring about the people close to him, but at some point in time we need to talk and see action from tracks, promoters, series, drivers, owners, sponsors, and even fans about safety at race tracks along with these sprint cars. Talked with Rick Ferkel awhile back and couldn't believe some of the things he and others use to do to make their cars go faster or believe they would be lighter and be faster such as drilling holes in the frames, steering wheels, etc... anywhere they thought they could be lighter/faster than the competition. Seeing some of those seats back in the day of the 70's and 80's --- wow. I remember Terry McCarl talking about his old seat and how they tried to make it as small as possible and didn't think about the safety aspect back then as much.

    Need to look at all aspects no matter the cost or what kind of things need to be changed because we can't keep losing drivers like we have lately.

    Several things I would like to see or at least discussed with the racing community:

    Cars:
    1) I would like to see thicker tubing at least in the cockpit/cage area.
    2) Weight of the sprint cars to go up at least another 100lbs from the mandated 1,400 lbs. to 1,500lbs with the driver in the car to help slow them down a little bit and also possibly make them safer.
    3) Would like to see the cockpit/cage area a couple of inches wider, taller, and thicker because with these new full seats in them it gives very little room of movement and the first impact could be to the seat area instead of the chassis. Think a little more room would help and wouldn't hurt the cars that much and possibly create more of a cushion or crush panel area for the car to absorb some of the impact before reaching the driver.
    4) Not really a safety issue, but would like to see mandatory all fuel tanks must be at least 33 gallon tanks (would actually like to see bigger tanks to be honest) for the added weight and telling teams that no fuel stops unless the maximum amount of laps have been run so teams will have to fill them up which would likely slow the cars down a bit and add more weight.
    5) Any safety equipment should be available and looked at by the team, owner, crew, and driver. Make the cars as safe as possible and not worry about weight or what it might do to hurt the car.

    Tracks:
    1) Take a look at your track and see what can be safer and also what needs to be fixed immediately. Most fans know that every safety issue can't be fixed overnight, but a lot of race fans and I imagine crews, drivers, and owners are getting tired of going to these events that they feel aren't safe or not the best.
    2) Need to do something about these openings with straight corners. For example a lot of the entrances to the infield at Eldora have been changed to more of a rounded wall and in a lot of cases has some type of safer barrier by them such as tires in turn 3 where the safety trucks usually sit, water/sand barrier in turn 4 where the cars enter pit road, etc... At Atomic with their new "mushroom" foam barrier.
    3) Lighting at a lot of tracks need to be improved not only for the fans, but the drivers so they can see better.
    4) More warning lights around the track. For example take a look at Eldora and how they have added a lot more lights for the competitors to see green/yellow/red a lot faster.
    5) Fencing make sure they are strong enough to be able to hold in the heaviest car that you run because we don't need to see a car going into the crowd and should be tall enough to keep things in as well.
    6) Poles/wood post make sure they are strong/big enough to handle the cars on the track and make sure they aren't protruding out to be a detriment that they aren't taller than the fence/guardrail.
    7) Seating for the fans I realize a lot of this can't be changed because of the configuration or size of the property, but would like to see fans sitting a lot further back than at most tracks. It is scary seeing how close to the fence some of these fans are especially at bigger shows. I remember for one of the all-star shows at Millstream when it was packed fans were 5 feet away on the hillside to the fence so if anything happened to a car and serious injuries could or would likely happen.

    Bottom line: Money is always a factor when it comes to improving a track, but you don't want something bad happen to a competitor at your race track which could have possibly been fixed. Money is tight for everybody and we know the bottom line matters with tracks staying open or closing, but money shouldn't be above safety and acknowledge issues and try to repair/fix them in a timely manner.

    Drivers/Owners/Fans:
    1) Be aware of your surroundings at a race track and don't assume just because a fence is in front of you that it will hold everything inside the track.
    2) Would love to see teams walking the track when they arrive at a event to see if there are things that a track could work on or give feedback to a track to possibly improve on in the future.
    3) Talk to the tracks, promoters, officials, and series about safety issues personally whether before a event or after that you see.
    4) If you feel a track doesn't seem to care about safety -- pack up and go home. It is your life that is on the line and don't have the attitude that it won't happen to me because anything can happen in a instance.
    5) Don't go by just the minimum or what a series believes is safe. Talk with others, create, and research better ways of being safe or trying new technology that might help keep your car safe. Your the one in the car and your the one that is risking a lot by being out on the track so make it the safest it can possibly be and don't worry about it might slow your car down by adding safety equipment or adding support.

    Bottom line: Money is always a issue, but as a owner/crew member wouldn't you feel terrible if your driver got hurt and you possibly knew they might of add a safety equipment out there that might have helped protect him better.

    Sprint Car Industry:
    Chassis Manufactures I know a lot has changed over the years and probably not a lot of publicity has been said about these type of changes because I remember how the cars use to look like and was at Eldora when Brad Doty got hurt and how open the cockpit/cage area was at that time, but it seems a lot hasn't been looked at recently. Would like to hear about what they are trying to do or what has been tested over the years on trying to improve the chassis along with their take on possible changes to the chassis of making them bigger/wider/thicker.

    Would really like to get some racing engineers involved in the sprint car world to try and make these cars safer whether it is making them a bit wider, thicker, taller, heavier, etc... wouldn't mind some nascar teams getting involved who has vast knowledge and money into the safety department and what they did to improve their cars over the years and what sprint car racing could possibly do or change to help. Realize two different type of cars, but racing is racing and think the entire racing community to get together and try and figure out a safer car.

    We all know this is a dangerous sport, but it seems it is happening a lot more these days or a lot more than most want to see anymore.

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    • #3
      This year has been a sad one with the unfortunate incidents of Jason Johnson and Greg Hodnett. Lot's of other drivers were pretty severely injured as well. Got a lot of respect for those behind the wheel of any race car. Hopefully the safety initiatives the Outlaws made will help prevent some of these injuries although many, myself included, are skeptical.
      2018 Race Counter: 24
      Atomic (1), Attica (7), Mansfield (3), Wayne Co. (2), Fremont (3), Montpelier (2), Eldora (1), Waynesfield (1), Kokomo (1), Limaland (1), 35 Raceway (1), Gas City (1)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by GTigers55 View Post
        This year has been a sad one with the unfortunate incidents of Jason Johnson and Greg Hodnett. Lot's of other drivers were pretty severely injured as well. Got a lot of respect for those behind the wheel of any race car. Hopefully the safety initiatives the Outlaws made will help prevent some of these injuries although many, myself included, are skeptical.
        The problem is you can only make these type of cars so safe with how tight the cockpit/cage area is along with being open like a sprint car still is nowadays. The other big issue is certain tracks need improvements to make them safer, but in the past these tracks didn't make corrections because of the cost to fix them or not simply thinking these type of accidents could happen at their facility. Tracks need to take a look at their facilities whether it is the concrete, guardrails, poles, tires on inside of track, fencing either adding it or make it taller/stronger, pit area, fans being to close to track, lighting the track, etc.... and see what changes can be made to make them better, safer, etc...

        Before the Hodnett accident I seen drivers and crew members complaining about the new changes for the cars because it was going to cost money and might not do any good in their opinion. This is where I wish NASCAR could/would step in and throw some of their money around to try and help grass roots racing especially since a lot of their drivers/crew members come from dirt racing and give a little back. Would like to see some engineers and others come together and find a safer type of car which most drivers/crews/owners could agree on that would be safer for all. If that means the car/cage area needs to be thicker tubing, taller cage, wider cage, more bars around the cage area, etc...

        Either way drivers, crews, owners, and fans will likely not be happy because it will cost money and those people will say it is going to drive some away, but I got to say these type of accidents could drive away new/old drivers, new/old owners, and new/old fans just as well.

        Everything should be allowed to be discussed and people need to know that accidents like these can happen no matter what, but there has to be a way to make them a little safer as well.
        Last edited by DirtRacer42; 3 weeks ago.

        Comment


        • #5
          Automobiles, including sprint cars, have evolved to the point where only incremental safety improvements are possible. Slowing the cars down is short sighted. In a year or two, they will be back to their current speeds or faster. A thicker tube here, or another bar added there, won't change the fact that racing is inherantly dangerous. Maybe the safety of the tracks can be improved. NASCAR might be able to help in that area, but keep them away from the cars. Remember what NASCAR did to Silver Crown?

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