Pit Safety

daltonfixr

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I don't know about you guys but I have been feeling more and more uneasy in the Main pit area at MDR races. I am not singeling out MDR, this just happens to be the series I race in (#1025). The reason for my concern is some of the high speed passes that I witnessed not only during the race, but before(Friday) and after also. In the past years it has usually been "wannabees" in there pre runners before and after the race "gettin it awn" like the big dogs. That doesn't really bother me. Though it is dangerous, it seems to regulate itself. Lately, I have been noticing the $50-$100,000 full awn race cars, doing 90mph pases, 30 feet from the pit people. Since I'm relativly new to MDR, I don't know if it is competitors or rich kids with high dollar toys. All I know is it scares me, and since there has been a couple of close calls in the main pit area during races it just seems to me like it is becoming more and more of a problem. Last year I (we) raced a SCORE race in Henderson and there was a speed limit in the pits. Though I didn't really agree with it at the time, I now understand why SCORE does that. My question is why doesn't MDR have a speed limit in the main pit area? What do you guys think.

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IDRA_CRB

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John,

If you are talking about the Main Pit area directly south of the S/F I think the problem is there is now a third line there that is significantly faster than the other two. This line is the area created when the pits moved away from the racecourse in order to be a little more safe! Now it's become racecourse.

I think MDR needs to mark this area as two lanes only and do some enforcement. We can't keep moving back.

Generally, promoters have speed limits in pit areas because their permit requires them to do so. SCORE's main pit at Shea road in Parker, was an example of this and an enforcement nightmare!


Reese
 

SuperDave

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Hi John,

I think you have raised a very good issue. I think currently MDR doesn't have a speed limit in the pits because the racers haven't expressed interest in it or perhaps it hasn't been an issue until now, considering there were two high speed roll overs this year in main pit. I would send and e-mail to MDR or try giving them a call and share you thoughts.

At the end of every MDR drivers meeting I ask the drivers to please share their comments, suggestions, ideas, complaints with us. Feedback from the racers is most welcomed but so far I've only had one racer approach me with a suggestion. If any other racers have any suggestions, please feel free to let me know. Just ask for Dave at Start/Finish.

Dave



Rover 4
 

Jerry Zaiden

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I talked to MDR about this very issue. I witnessed the last roll over in the main pit area at the last race. I watched the 1 car go into the pits. I talked to Patricia about marking the pit area 200' back from the couse. She said it gets expensive to put markers up for everything. Shy stated that where the enty fees are there is no budget to add more expens. The solution is to raise the entry fee to make the race safer. This would be the answer, but like usual some will bitch about the higher cost of racing. It makes me laugh, people will bring out a 20K-80K race car or truck and whine about a $400 entry fee. I am not saying everyone whines about the fees. It is just the few who do that ruin it for all of us. I think we should contact Patricia and support her and HELP her come up with a good plan. The racers need to get together. Whether here on this board or in person at a spot that works for all of us. If we want to keep racing we need to get together and make it happen the way we want it to. Safe, Fun, and with some kind of pay back. I also feel that we should all hear the points she has expressed to me about how many days in a year there can even be a race, how hard it is to get good help, and what she has to work around. She has a tough job for sure.
 

WFODAN

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Let's not get too carried away here ............ Speed limits threw the main ???? What's next ?? concrete barriers ?? flatten the rollers out ?? put a speed limit on the entire course ?? I say if you don't feel safe , then don't be there . Move to somewhere else and stand or pit . Pit on the other side of the start/finish . It's alot rougher there , so the speeds are alot less . You take an open area of the course , hell ...... the main is probably the widest fast section available for passing and say to have a speed limit there ?? It will never fly ........... Remember this is a race course , and racing is a dangerous sport , so like I said if you don't feel safe then move .


Dan Vance
 

Clifford

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It's good to see a racer bring this issue up. Tom Willis was mentioning your rollover to me on Saturday and let me ask a clarification question.

From what I recall did you roll in the same area as Danny Anderson, or at least, the approximate area?

The idea that Tom and I both shared was to have no pitting or camping on the outer portion of that turn. It appears as the direction of travel that your are headed once you make the right turn to enter the main pit area is where Jerry rolled. We both agreed it would be a logistical nightmare to try and keep people out. Let's keep brainstorming this issue and try an come up with a solution. It will only benefit the racers, pit support, and spectators. We have until the last race of the year as the next races will be in Ridgecrest and Lucerne.
 

DG_BTI

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I just don't understand your comment, it is racing and accidents do happen, but it is the promoters responsibility to make the race as safe as possible within reason. NASCAR has a pit road speed, did that ruin their racing? no. I'm telling you now that if something isn't done regarding pit areas in all events, its a matter of time before a TT wads it through dozens of people. This is a fact. I attend many events a year and it blows my mind how close spectators and crews are to 100 mph vehicles through rough terrain. I feel the promoter "must" do more to protect spectators. Believe me, growing up watching racers beside the race coarse was and is awesome, but as time goes by and cars go faster, it is an accident waiting to happen. Without getting into details I have had first hand experience with a 100 mph race car crashing into pit road in mexico a few years back, and since then I have changed my race viewing habits. The problem is most people don't get it until they see a tragic accident themselves, so the promoter must hold their hand and lookout for them, at least within reason. A pit road speed limit or moving the pits back a few hundred feet will cost nothing compared to loss of life and possibly an end to our sport. I cannot stress enough how important this issue is. Would you stand 10 feet from the sidelines of a CART or NASCAR race? or better yet, park your motorhome there? there isn't even dust or a single bump. Of course you wouldn't. We take thing for granted until its to late. So, in closing I hope something positive comes from this thread.
 

daltonfixr

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I agree with your comments Dan. It is racing and racing is dangerous BUT, if there is something that can be done that wouldn't affect the lap times and would still make it a safer race environment, wouldn't you be for it?
I think Reese has raised a good point. If MDR would simply take some of that orange plastic fencing stuff and some stakes, they could stake off a "Pit Lane", with one entrance and one exit. They could make a Pit lane both before S/F and after. In this pit lane there would be a speed limit. There is enough room to make enough of a "safe zone" between the race course and the pit lane, and this wouldn't be that expensive. Let the racers police the speed limit unless it became a problem and see what happens. The worse thing that would happen is it would be a little safer in the pits.

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Tom_Willis

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One thing we have tried is to run off everyone who parks or hangs out on the east side of the course (opposite of the pits). There was way too many people crossing the track right there where the jeepspeed truck was forced to do a steering box changeout on driver's right side of the course across from the Currie pit. A black jeep CJ crossed over there at least twice without looking ahead up course. (Ask the 726 truck about it, they swerved around it). We went down course and directed racers away from it, then a few minutes later the Camburg truck crashed across from them, basically IN the Currie pit. . Dust settles, driver/codriver are out, no flames, Medevent ambulance arrives and determines they are ok, but now 50 people are standing where a truck has just crashed, with their backs to the race cars. This just went from mildly dangerous to very dangerous. So we go to the pit side of the track (upcourse from the Camburg incident), and flag the race cars from that side, (meanwhile the jeep is almost fixed). Next, some kid in a silver f-150 parks across from the crash and turned up his ghetto-rap boom box crap so loud that we couldn't hear race cars approaching. That's an example of someone just not thinking. This isn't a beach party, this isn't a place to hang out and be stoopid without risking the consequences. This is the most dangerous form of motorsports for spectators who just don't use their head. No wonder NASCAR keeps spectators behind chainlink fences.

Live your life like a Budweiser commercial
 

Wayne_Nosala

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Making rules is one thing, enforcing them is another. Putting up barriers &
policing the pits in an open area like Barstow would be tough. more volunteers
would be needed in any case. Can we compare MDR with SNORE for a moment?
MDR (not trying to bash them) has the Idiot element when it comes to Barstow
or Lucerne. Another thread describes a truggy running around all night. It just part
of the Barstow atmosphere. There is always some obnoxious vehicle of some sort
running around 24hrs a day there. This mixed in with race day will always cause
problems. Common sense (by drivers, pit folks & spectators) is the only way to keep
problems from occurring

SNORE on the other hand reduces the idiot factor. The upcoming BB 400,
will see a bit more professional atmosphere.
I hate to say it, but the law enforcement in the Primm pits has always kept things
under control. The pit pass system used by SNORE & SCORE in Primm good
for race teams, bad for spectating, but It keeps the crazys off the course & out of the
pits. We will not see any show-off pit racers there or they will be ticketed or
hauled in


Nosala.com
 

DMSRACE

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First off, 1law suit will cost a !@*% load more than a few f'n markers!!!! Bitd has speed limits in most of their pits and seems alot safer to me. The main pit at Barstow is and has been a dangerous part of the course. I feel they should have a speed limit on it or at least only let them run the 2 inside lines. WFO, you are right as far as feeling safe, but that is why there is no more factory love. Off road is the only sport where you could touch the cars if you were dumb enough to want to. I have seen racers crash into pits back in the LaRana days, and remeber the law suits that followed. We, the racer. do not have the insurance that we think we have. If you were to crash into somebody, your fault or not, you will be sued and MDR most likley will not be of much help to the racer. I don't mean to be down, I just want everyone to realize how serious we need to take racing. We all do it for fun and don't want that to change.

Racer

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Kritter

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"Next, some kid in a silver f-150 parks across from the crash and turned up his ghetto-rap boom box crap so loud that we couldn't hear race cars approaching."

That was some crap punk rock and I loved the way you got them to turn the crap off...for those not there Tom went in the truck and honked the horn until the owner came over and turned it off.

As for the jackass of all jackasses was a superduty who got stuck in the big ruts trying to cross them perpindicular and caught his hitch so it took up two lanes (the only two to race on)..this was about 25 yards west of Motion Tires pit...it was pretty good, I might even have pictures.

Kris
<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.barneysprecision.com/fabproducts.htm> Fab Parts</A>
 

Gabe Lara

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Why not just close off the "east side" of pit row to spectators to begin with?
I agree with Dan... If you don't feel safe, back off. We've always maintained a safe distance from the course, aside from shooting video, and yes, there are 3 lines now after S/F row, which makes the course that much wider there now and doesn't help the safety issue.

As a whole, we need to start policing one another, and educate some of these "new" spectators that are coming to check out the races in proper track/ race "etiquette".

-Gabe
 

frankh

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Kritter

That guy was with Motion Tire of Ridgecrest and has been to a lot of race. Ok here is what people are suppose to do , while I was not there ( I was in the car) but He was with my pits and what he did was stupid and I will take the blame. so have at it. everything you say will be taken to heart and passed on to him. I can tell you that everyone at main told him so. I even told he once I was out of the car and heard about it.


Frank Hines
Motion Tire/ N2S Racing
 

martininsocal

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Here are some possibilities, and Patricia should be the one to go to the BLM withthem since they charge her a 100 dollar per car land use fee every time you enterthe race. Have they do whatthey are suppose to do with the money! Grade the damn pit road so that it is safer. I know you all want to see cars fly through the air, etc...But doing it in the pits is stupid. If they graded pit row and left a couple lines through it with enough space between teh course and the pit access road, problem will be solved. She doesn't need more ribbons. The info can be given out at the drivers meeting as to where the course is and the pit access rd. Have a speed limit on the pit access rd. We don't get to race the outer Hodge portion of the race because teh course got so chewed up it became dangerous for the spectators trying to watch the road jump. The ruts are so huge that cars were having to go all over the place to make it through and the BLM decided it was too dangerous with the easy access from the freeway for spectators. The one time someone took a tractor out there to grade the place, the tractor was shot up the night before. How many of you enjoyed the graded course this go round? This course has had atleast 4 races on it since October. I don't think a single dime has been spent on course rehab, but they sure do pay for the Law Enforcement folks to be there.
Some of us mention this stuff to the BLM at land use meetings, but we have never seen a promoter show up yet to talk about what "your" 100 dollar land use fee goes to. It is your money, what do you want it spent on? More Cops or safer pits?

Martin

If your gonna go, go BIG
 

martininsocal

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Frank- you are a class act. I applaud you for taking responsibility of the folks in your pits. I can assume your buddy will never make the same mistake because he was educated into proper ettiquette. Thank you.

Martin

If your gonna go, go BIG
 

frankh

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As far as the pit safety I don't see why a new line could not be made that was just to go into the pits that has separation from the course. The speed limit thing will only work in the main if at all. there are no speedometer in the car so it is a judgment thing. I can tell you at the BITD Parker race only like 50% of the car went the speed limit and a lot of people used it to catch the car that was. But it was a wide area that a line for the pits could have been add easy after all the had equipment out there it would have been a good time to do it. Another good idea is a burm that you have to cross to get to the pits like the gauntlet at parker. While I do not like the speed limit option if they do it we will adhere to it but, I think they need to put one of those sign that read out your speed so you can get a gear and rpm to everyone will know what they should be going and it's fair.
 

jeff

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You can't say NASCAR (and I assume you mean Winston Cup) does this and so should we because NASCAR has a HUGE budget to work with. NASCAR has a pit road speed limit. NASCAR pit guys are also frequently getting run over, some by their own driver. So speed isn't always an issue. Until you've got a NASCAR budget you've got to think and work within your means. I agree, ribbons are cheap. But ribbons don't do squat unless someone is there to make sure people obey the ribbon. If the safety police racers want to slow things down they should spend the time/money to do it. Bellyaching about it on the boards won't fix it. A guy (or gal) in a bulldozer could fix it in a matter of hours but it's doubtful the BLM would let anyone start moving dirt around out there. Plus it'd be expensive. But, and it's a big but, if promoters and racers that run Barstow decided to pony up and spend a few bucks it could be done. But then other pits would need to be looked at. And then spectator areas. And then road crossings. And then........

I'm all for safety but desert racing just ain't a safe sport. NASCAR people like crashes. They all hide demons that just can't wait for the BIG ONE to happen. I don't think anybody should have to die at a desert race, or any race for that matter... but it happens every year at least once. If the Camburg el-rollo had wiped out 20 people would MDR ever hold another race? Would Jerry race again? Would Camburg have to close its doors? What if's are a bitch. I'd like to see the racing continue on and if a few changes are needed to save lives go ahead and do it. No matter how safe you try to make racing it'll never be safe. People die everyday doing all sorts of things and when it's your time to go, it's your time to go. Like someone else said, if you want a safe sport it might be time to try something else. If you want to make racing a little safer you should step up and do something about it. Talk is cheap for a reason.

Aloha
 

DG_BTI

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WOW Jeff, "people die every day doing all sorts of things". Talk may be cheap, but without it nothing will ever get done. Your post is your opinion, but it is very irresponsible in my opinion. Yes, ribbons and markers may not do much, but it is a step in the right direction. Rather than 1000 people crossing the coarse maybe only 100 will next time and possibly save a loved one of your own. This is called progression. Or we can ignore it all together because "talk is cheap and people die everyday".
Desert racing is dangerous, and as a driver, co driver or crew member we understand the dangers, but we also have families that show up to spectate that dont always know how dangerous the sport is and could benefit from seeing banners or ribbons. Lets not be so selfish.
 

daltonfixr

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Re: Jeff

I read your post 3 times Jeff and still don't understand where you are coming from. Do you think this is a problem? What are your concerns? What do you suggest should be done(if anything)? By whom?

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