Readers slams IRL for negligenceUPDATE The same reader writes again over three years later, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I'll be damned if Brian Barnhart and/or the IRL is looking to take credit for this thought. Three and one-half years gentlemen you have sat on your hands since the following posting was publicly displayed. You, are the source for all this physical anguish, who have brought so much division and shame to our American racing heritage, are just now finding it within your realm of interest and reason to pursue this goal.
Your surgeons and orthopedic specialists are tired of trying to piece together our drivers; and they have obviously finally may have brought you to your senses.
Commendable it may be for you to employ your resources to exact this superior level of safety for competitors and fans but, sir, the thought is not yours.
I look forward to the finding of a successful application of my original idea. Let's hope that when that day arrives, the track owners do not put up the resistance they did to the safer barrier (we miss your Jerry Nadeau). Gary Bouchard- Los Angeles, Ca.
10/24/03 A reader writes, The excitement of open wheel racing has always included the dreaded 'touching of wheels' that launches a car. In light of the recent incidents (My condolences to Tony Renna's fiancée, family and friends and God-speed to you Tony. Also best wishes on a healthy recovery to Kenny Brack) there has been every type of lashing out at the open wheel series (some of it is quite justly due) at needing to make adjustments. I believe that the upper limits of reasonable speed have been found and I think everyone- Car owners, drivers, series officials, designers and engineers, and the fans- is accepting and cognizant of this point.
It appears that Tony Renna's accident much like Mario Andretti's back in May signals an urgent need to find a method of foiling the air that gets underneath these cars in order to keep them grounded. There are many intelligent, creative and resourceful people in this world so there is no excuse for failing in this task. My greatest personal concern involves what we call "the catch fence". These primitive forms of constraint are nothing short of a shredding device. Most people fail to note or reference one of the most vicious events in our recent racing history involving the 'catch fence' as Geoff Bodine's wreck at Daytona. This to me is the defining incident. If something should be altered to improve safety at the track, it is this fence element. My solution (though I am not an engineer nor do I have the resources to test this theory, (believe me if I could I would) is to implement the use of "bullet proof glass" in some form of construction that mounts to existing catch fence structures between eight and twelve feet above current retaining walls. The existing catch fencing would lend resistive support to the glass panel. Yes, these open wheel cars weigh +/-1500 pounds but they also do not get up into these upper fence regions at the full 200mph ranges. They are glancing blows so to speak. The cars would fall back to the track without getting torn apart by the fencing and debris would be greatly prohibited from getting into spectator areas. Tear offs could be employed to help maintain the panels clarity over time. This panel system could potentially be portable to fit each racing venue. It is just my idea, but I believe Tony might still be with us if this type of system existed in turn three at IMS. Gary J. Bouchard Los Angeles Ca.
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