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My Mint 400 - Motorsports Safety Solutions

ndvalium

Rescue Director
My Mint 400

No matter how many events my team does throughout the year, The Mint 400 is by far the biggest of them all for us. Planning for every Mint 400 race begins exactly one year previous at the previous race on what we can do to improve responses and help for racers, crews, spectators and staff.

This year was no different. A year ago we learned a few things that could make our responses better. A few things that would improve patient care and certainly a few things that could improve communication between operations, medical staff, responders and crews / families involved in any major incident. See just like any successful race team, planning and preparation put you in a position to give your best.

Motorsports Safety Solutions had 18 of our members volunteer for the day as well as 2 medics from American Medical Response and 4 more responders from Sundance Safety on stand by all over the course. This in addition to numerous retrieval vehicles and Best in the Desert staff meant that people were in place every few miles on the course to deal with just about anything that could occur.

For me personally, the morning started with looking at a few areas and trying to anticipate how we would deal with the massive crowds that were expected to attend. How could we ensure the best safety for everyone while maintaining the Great American Race experience? We also take a very active role in assisting Best in the Desert staff in anyway we can. From staging to crowd and traffic control.

Race number 1 – We have a start to The Mint 400
Starting just after dawn, the limited classes started their race. 220 vehicles left the line to tackle the course. After everyone was off the line, we adjusted a few things for spectator areas and got ready for the field to return to the Primm area.

A brief down time allowed me to head north and check on all our teams. We go to help a broke UTV get going and tow a disabled 10 car out to meet his team. Watched a few cars move down the course and spend time visiting with a few people out there support the race.

We headed back to Primm to get ready for race #2. Race #2 is the unlimited classes. 110 of the greatest off road racers climbed into their machines and readied for war on the desert and each other.

We have a Code Red…

Race mile 58 the 1035 car rolled and needed medical assistance. On scene in minutes, one of our teams assessed the situation and requested air transport for one of the occupants. Additional teams including myself converged on the area to assist. After being transported, we got the course cleared and assisted in clearing out numerous other disabled vehicles in the area before the freight train of Unlimited Vehicles would arrive in the area.

Returning to Primm as the Unlimited were completing lap one and starting lap 2, we stationed at the infamous Dyke Jump and got to watch some racing. A cloud of dust and a call on the radio alerted us to a rollover in which a Class 1500 rolled after landing the jump and striking the wall. Getting him turned over, and course clear in a less than a minute we then started on helping race car after race car in the Primm area. Rollovers, mechanical failures and stuck vehicles, The Mint 400 started to take its toll.

A few minutes later another driver needed our assistance. Being knocked unconscious in a rollover, a class 1500 racer needed transport with back and neck pain.

As the first finishers started coming through we were able to hear on the radio that Justin Lofton took the win. A big kudos to him and his team on a back to back of the Mint 400 victories. Was great to see for sure.

High point of the day for sure was seeing the Alexander Motorsports 6100 car finish strong last night with Ryan Hancock behind the wheel, and Jordan Poole on his right hand side the way it was supposed to be last year. It has been a hell of a year for these two, their team and their family. I think crossing the finish line was the biggest healing moment of the last 12 months. Not that it matters much compared to what they went through, but I know I it made me feel better.

Low point came as one of my team members resigned from my team at the end of the day as a result of how the spectators treated him while he was trying to keep people back at a safe distance. I demand of my team that we help in every way possible for any promoter that we are honored to serve. If that is crowd control, security officer or even trash man, then that is what we will do. I respect his decision as what we do is obviously not for everyone.

While a couple racers went to the hospital, word is they are released and recovering and that is the most important to me and my amazing team at the end of the day.

I want to thank my amazing team:
Ryan Amendt, Valerie LeDuc who both road with me and risked their lives as we bumped around the desert! William Bolderoff and Pixie Dust who I entrusted the supervision of the entire Northern half of the race to, and they performed flawlessly supporting Best in the Desert and the rest of the Rescue staff. Brad Lundy for covering the Northern Knight Ranch Road pit. D.j. Raz, Coleman Benner, Anthony Brown, and Julie Pierce for their help in the Primm area. Robert Schell, Dani and David Spencer for covering Spectator 3 and the Hidden Valley area as well as successfully went the entire day without killing each other. Jerry Yeager and Jenifer Yeager for covering Pit B. Of course Best in the Desert relies heavily on our joint custody of Rescue 11 or Karl Hartmetz and Nancy Hartmetz. A special thanks to Sundance Safety for covering the main pit for fire and medical assistance. Keith Jones I sincerely appreciate you, WIll, Jerry and Chloe for joining making this race happen successfully.

The 2016 Mint 400 is complete and planning is already underway to make 2017's version of the Great American Race even better!
 

Ol' Curmudgeon

RDC's resident crackpot
Any estimates on spectator attendance numbers?

Thirty years ago, the MINT would draw in excess of 100,000, according to the LV papers.
 

ndvalium

Rescue Director
Any estimates on spectator attendance numbers?

Thirty years ago, the MINT would draw in excess of 100,000, according to the LV papers.
I heard the following estimates but were waiting for final BLM numbers for the spec areas-

40,000 at Primm
30,000 in the spec area 1 through 4.

I can tell you the Dyke jump and all along the primm area was packed. I didnt get a chance to see any spec areas other than four and it was packed.
 

bannanaz

Well-Known Member
Sorry to hear that your team member was treated disrespectfully when he/she was volunteering their time to help others. Spec area 4 was way oversold again, for the second year in a row there was nowhere to park (Even with my paid reserved pass).

The parking attendant recommended that I write a email, phone call, or comment so here it is.

I by no means want to sound disrespectful when I say this, but its impossible for people to move their vehicles when there is inadequate space to do so. Spec 4 was supposed to be for RM 75 but the cars were being stuffed so far out people were getting a better view of RM 34, which was on the on the opposite side of the road.

Mint 400 staff needs to accept some responsibility as it was completely ridiculous from both a safety and common sense standpoint. And I will note that many of the vehicles that were piling up/overflowing near the entrance and exit were Mint 400 official/media vehicles.

On a side note: I ended up in another spectator area which had plenty of space and had a great time. I felt like things were very well organized in the other location.
 
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Bdub 1020

Well-Known Member
For one Dave why are these medics volunteers. Do you give a bid to promoter to handle medical coverage and why would your bid not cover paying employees to work like an ambulance company etc. 2nd why is medical staff trying to be crowd control and dealing with sometimes idiot spectators. Why Is that not another dept working with the highly paid BLM and law enforcement. I appreciate all you do with your crew but should your team not be there , be paid and focused for medical issues only. Not trying to fight just trying to understand how the medical professionals are asked to volunteer instead of being compensated along with also trying to being law enforcement etc. which they are not. Again I am just asking. It seems like with all the revenue this would be how it is. A medical company providing a service for racers for a fee.
 

UTVinc

Well-Known Member
Hi Dave and Crew Thank You and your crew so much for you fast response and the fast tow over when I put my 6120 Truck on its lid in the infield. First of all for the help and for being at the races keeping us Safe Johnny Angal

 

ndvalium

Rescue Director
Hi Dave and Crew Thank You and your crew so much for you fast response and the fast tow over when I put my 6120 Truck on its lid in the infield. First of all for the help and for being at the races keeping us Safe Johnny Angal

No worries sir. That is why we are there. Were you guys able to get back into the race? I know your pit crew looked like there were on a mission to rebuild the car from scratch if needed when I dropped you in the main pit!
 

ndvalium

Rescue Director
For one Dave why are these medics volunteers. Do you give a bid to promoter to handle medical coverage and why would your bid not cover paying employees to work like an ambulance company etc. 2nd why is medical staff trying to be crowd control and dealing with sometimes idiot spectators. Why Is that not another dept working with the highly paid BLM and law enforcement. I appreciate all you do with your crew but should your team not be there , be paid and focused for medical issues only. Not trying to fight just trying to understand how the medical professionals are asked to volunteer instead of being compensated along with also trying to being law enforcement etc. which they are not. Again I am just asking. It seems like with all the revenue this would be how it is. A medical company providing a service for racers for a fee.

So I apologize in advance for the length in this response so those that choose to read it I hope it provides insight into what we do because your questions triggered many thoughts in my head as well as echoed some comments of others on these forums lately:

So I started as a volunteer in 1996 for Best in the Desert, SCORE and SNORE as an EMT that was basically assigned to be a medic in the pits. At that time, all of us that did this were a fairly tight group that did the majority of the series. We were poorly compensated if at all for even basic expenses for many years. For example, the Nevada 2000, I spent 6 days on the road and averaged 4 hours of sleep a night. I was paid 250.00 for expenses from Best in the Desert for the entire event. In the early 2000’s all of the series, transitioned from volunteer medics that were given a nominal expense fee, to having a company that coordinated their medical / rescue teams. All of these companies are paid a fee from the promoter to in essence provide medical response for emergencies in the race. I will talk about why they are volunteer a little later and where that fee goes.

In 2006, I decided to start my own operation and founded Motorsports Safety Solutions. My goals and mission were a little different that some of my predecessors. I have zero desire to be the person that merely responds and deals with something when it happens. I had a friend that owned Motorsports Medical Services – They were an ambulance service that handled medical emergencies. I helped start that group and was a proud member for many years. Motorsports Safety Solutions was my dream to take it several steps further.

We are there for anything that happens. We are equipped for fire suppression, extrication and medical emergencies. We are not just a medical team provider.

We wanted to travel with the race series and provide a consistent team of providers to each and every event. My team currently serves 5 different racing series and have been requested by several more but struggle with overlapping dates. I will not over commit my team or resources and will say no to any provider before I risk not being able to provide nothing but the best to them.

More importantly, we want to be actively and aggressively involved in the safety of the events. Safety of everyone is my mission. It is the Mission I demand of those on my team. If that means we have to direct traffic to make sure people are not run over by cars going to staging then that is what we will do. If that means we have to play security officer and move spectators out of an area, then that is what we will do. If that means looking at a race car of after an incident and determining what happened to cause an injury and what we can do to fix that in the future then that is what we will do.

Calling law enforcement in to assist is an option but I will tell you what that does, it not only sometimes gets an over aggressive interaction between fans and BLM or Metro, but it justifies additional support staff of those highly paid folks in the future. History has proven that. My team is recognized as BITD officials because of our relationship with them, as a result when we see a problem we try and address it and not simply pass the buck onto someone else.

When we arrived at Primm yesterday morning I was not happy with the way the fencing was set up at the dyke jump. I spoke briefly with Casey about my concerns and then 10 of my team members moved hundreds of feet of temporary fencing. When the first accident happened at the jump, we found hundreds of people had breached and moved fencing to get a better view. We corrected that immediately and moved people. Minutes later where people had been sitting before, the block wall was destroyed when the second vehicle went through it.

There were 2 paid EMS providers for this event. They sat in an ambulance and got out twice to use a porta potty. They were not fans of the sport. They have zero concept of racing or an appreciation for what these men, women and machines go through. They sat in a pit and played on their phones and laptops.

I will take my volunteers over those folks any day of the week. Volunteer vs paid does not dictate the quality of your care. My team all work as paid providers in real life in various roles. They burn their vacation time and spend their money to beat up their own personal vehicles because that is their passion. You are what matters to them. Those are the people you want there for you when something happens. Just because we may be engaged in crown control or some other less significant role at any given times, does not lesson the care and service we will provide to you when you need us. Just as if we were sitting in our trucks doing nothing, when your emergency happens, you are our priority.

Owning a business is very expensive as most of you know. Operating it with paid staff not only raises the costs associated but ads different liabilities and challenges. In fact if I or many members of my team were paid, we would be forced to resign our current occupations for conflicts of interest or other administrative reasons. While for me that would be one of many of my dreams to be able to focus on Racer Safety full time for racing series, it is not something I see happening in our industry.

So every race promoter pays a fee to my team’s service. That fee goes towards a couple of key things:

1. Reimbursement for basic expenses for team member’s fuel for races. I have teams all over the southwest and some of my most dedicated and valued members travel 300 miles to attend each race. Hotel costs

2. Basic company expenses such as shirts, paperwork, business licensing and other operating expenses like storage.

3. Improvement of available equipment. Extrication equipment is expensive. My team has 8 sets of tools available to us. Four of which that are owned by Motorsports Safety and the other four owned by individual team members. We are trying to build a new rescue truck right now that needs funded. We have many dreams and desires on areas we hope to improve some day.

4. Luxuries: Depending on the race that is a nice team dinner or ordering off the dollar menu at McDonalds on the way home from a long day.

I charge promoters a flat rate per number of rescues regardless of where the race is. I choose to keep that amount at the lowest minimal level I can to all promoters regardless of their success. I struggle at the mere thought off making money off the safety of others. I choose as the business owner to instead lose money consistently year after year as long as I have a job that still covers my rent. Most of my teams are the same way and in some cases those that are deserved fuel wont even take reimbursement. I know that I could walk into some promoters and hand them a 10,000 invoice and they would pay it without a thought but that is not why I started this. It is not how I believe business should be done. I have far more respect for them than to ever take what I feel would be advantage of the situation.

I have had big dreams of where I would love to see my team end up at some point. I dream of a day when I could have a core group of medics that can focus 100% on the safety at the various types of races that we serve.

I dream of a vehicle sponsorship that allows us to beat up company vehicles and not have to worry about how we will get to the grocery store or work the next day.

I dream of new technology extrication equipment that allows me to get people out of cars faster or in more remote situations.

I dream of having several rapid response UTV’s that can access tight and technical areas for fast response as well as provide better support in congested pit areas.

I dream of having better personal protective equipment for my team to protect them rather than whatever we can find in closeout bin and on ebay.

Most of all I dream that we as a team can serve you all well and at the end of the day know that we did our best to prevent injuries and accidents, but did our best for you if they still had to happen.

Sorry way more than anyone wants to know I am sure -
 

tooltime

Well-Known Member
I too agree with bannanzas about spec 4. This is my 3rd year at 4. I will first give kudos to the poor security staff who really tried their best to politely ask people to please not take up three spots with their one parking pass. Each time they would ask, they got flack from the person. Some moved, but not all. I can say that the parking situation is way out of control. As expected, we as humans cant be trusted to show compassion, respect, integrity, or morals "as long as I gets mine!" People were taking up two to three spots. If you werent there by 9am, you were out of luck. I hate to say it, but we cant be trusted to park normally. So, BITD and the Mint 400 people, pay attention, YOU need to hand park each and every one of us, one by one just like at a major event. Start at the very first spot and go from there. We gladly pay your fee, now please force the single parking problem and we will gladly continue to pay the fee. The security staff was a great start. But they will only go so far because Im sure they dont get paid enough to fight with unruly clowns. There were pets when the rules said no pets, ect...I love this event and every year take time from work to attend, but Im really getting tired of the ignorance and lack of respect. My son had to park out on the access road, face a parking ticket and hike all his crap into my spot because even though he paid for a spot, there werent any!!! Lastly, I couldnt believe the trash left behind by many this year.
I personally want to thank any and all volunteers and all medical staff for helping to make a smooth and safe event for all. Nothing is perfect. Despite the parking mess, we still made the best of it.
 

tooltime

Well-Known Member
I love what you are all about. Send me a pm with your contact info. I think I would like to see if I can volunteer someday.
 

bobsson

Well-Known Member
Sorry to hear about the situation with one of your team members. Hopefully it wasn't someone near spectator area 2. Everyone while I was there from 6 AM to finish seemed pretty friendly and no one seemed to try to get too close.
 
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