A few weeks ago, one of the new start up groups had an
unfortunate incident where two drivers ended up being seriously injured.
We attempted to help them by giving valuable advice on how
to make their cars safer, however, their leader refused the help and shut us
out. Then he proceeded to bash our group
for being unsafe and having the most injuries of any group racing.
So I wanted to set the record straight and reflect a little
on the failures of the past.
First, we have been racing since 2008. In that time we have had 3 drivers who had to
seek medical attention.
The first was MrMopar in March 2009 who lost control of his
poorly built car and crashed at the bottom of the hill on Illchester
Rd. He had
cuts on his left leg, but was able to walk without difficulty and drive himself
home to Philadelphia about 2-1/2
hours away driving a manual transmission.
The next day he did go the doctor.
X-Rays didn’t show any breaks, but the doctor suspected he had broken a
bone in his left foot. (his clutch foot)
Our next injury came in October of 2009 when we had a 3 car crash. Nasty Neal driving the Indestructible Monte
Carlo got on the brakes too hard while cresting a hump in the road and lost
control. He spun and his car rolled.
Drscope driving the Wedge of Doom hit the Monte
Carlo as it was rolling over, then he lost steering,
hit a large rock at the edge of the road and also rolled onto his side. Both of those cars had roll bars and seat
belts and both drivers walked away without a scratch.
But Ice Man driving the DW1386 which was an open car at the
time didn’t fare as well. He left the
road trying to avoid the crash. His car
struck an immovable object and he was thrown from the car. The car then flew up in the air and landed on
top of his feet.
He suffered a cut to the back of his head where we believe a
piece of glass was able to go up under his helmet. (we found a large flat piece of a broken
whisky bottle in the debris where he crashed)
And the following day he went to see the doc. The cut on his head required staples to close
it and once again the doctor suspected that he had a broken bone in his foot,
but the X-Rays were inconclusive.
This was ONE WEEK prior to the East Coast Challenge, and Ice
Man raced in the Challenge with a special shoe!
Following that incident, we began converting all our cars to
closed cars with roll over protection and 5 point harnesses.
Our next and last injury to date, came in June of 2013. The speeds and the intensity of the races had
increased SUBSTANTIALLY since that last injury in 2009. This would prove to be our worst injury in
the history of our group.
Doc Hudson was
in pursuit of Crews Control and estimated speeds are in the 64mph range. As he crossed the painted center lines on the
road to make his pass, the rear of his car stepped out and he made contact with
Crews Control’s car.
His car left the road, struck a tree, lifted into the air,
rotated 180 degrees and slammed into another tree before setting down.
From 64mph to a dead stop took about 1.3 seconds.
shattered his leg below the knee and required multiple surgeries to put him
back together again.
While these injuries are not to be taken lightly, we do need
to put into perspective the fact that we have had 3 injuries in over 60 races.
We have had several other crashes during that time. And many of those resulted in damage to the
race cars – sometimes very substantial damage, but this is the extent of the
injuries we have had.
Yes, our cars were not safe in the early days. But we learned from our failures and we have
done several things to correct them.
Anytime we have a crash, we review any video footage and we
inspect the cars closely to try to figure out what went wrong, why it went
wrong, what failed, what held up, and what we could do to prevent this type of
failure from repeating itself. This incident
investigation is NOT a quick look. It is
a detailed investigation that receives a lot of time and effort to complete.
We don’t turn a blind eye to it and just figure it will
happen to someone else, not us. We know
that as long as we are pushing the envelope there are going to be times that we
cross the limits and things will go bad.
We try to prepare for that. And
we have a proven system in place to deal with it when it happens.
So if you are a new racer, or you are associated with the
new group in question, we encourage you to review the car construction tips
found on the MISFITS FB page! And don’t
be afraid to speak up and ask for help or suggestions!
Our group is made up of a diverse group of individuals who
have a vast degree of knowledge on this and other subjects.
Our goal is simply to help you guys and girls race safer and
have more fun.
If anyone in this sport gets injured it’s bad for all of us.
Ignorance is not bliss, it’s simply an accident waiting to