Friday, April 04, 2008

If it could happen to Earnhardt ...

FORT WORTH, Texas - Let's be clear about this. Dale Earnhardt saved Michael McDowell's life Friday.

There's no reason to parse words about what happened in Samsung 500 qualifying. When McDowell's No. 00 Toyota slammed headlong into the Turn 1 wall as he began his second qualifying lap, anybody who was paying even the slightest bit of attention had to have his or her heart go up in the throat.

The car got over on its top and started flipping, and you know that's supposed to be a good thing because it dissipates energy. Still, as you're watching it's hard to keep from cringing.

When the car finally came to rest, after what seemed like forever, you just hoped for the best.

When McDowell climbed out and walked to the ambulance, you had to be amazed, relieved and I really don't know what all at the same time.

A lot of people have worked very hard on developing and installing the steel and foam energy reducing barriers that line the walls now at NASCAR tracks. A lot of smart people have worked on improvements to the seats and other features inside the car that make drivers safer.

And NASCAR deserves credit for keeping safety as a primary focus as it developed the cars now used in Sprint Cup racing.

All of that might very well have eventually come to NASCAR's top series had Earnhardt not died in the 2001 Daytona 500, but it was Earnhardt's wreck that completely changed stock-car racing's attitude about safety.

If it could happen to Earnhardt, it could happen to anybody. Drivers might not have said that out loud - some did - but they all felt it. So safety stopped being something that "scared" drivers discussed and became a priority.

I don't think NASCAR was ever callous about safety. The early stags of the "car of tomorrow" project and "soft-wall" research began before Earnhardt died. But the death of the seven-time champion gave safety matters a priority they otherwise simply would not have had.

SAFER barriers have been up everywhere for about three years now and the more times they're hit the more the people who make them learn about how to make them better.

Everything - the wall, the car, the in-car safety features - had to work together Friday to keep McDowell from being seriously hurt.

So, quite frankly, did good fortune (or, depending on what you believe, divine intervention).

Every bit of the development and improvement and innovation that's been done since 2001 contributed to what happened - or what didn't happen - here Friday.

69 comments:

RLBlooze said...

That wreck was unbelievable. Give credit where credit is due. NASCAR has made some bonehead calls the last few years, but safety is one thing they've done right. Sometimes in the heat of competition drivers and fans alike forget that safety is still the most important thing in racing, at any level. It is ironic that in the tragedy of Sr.'s death, many serious injuries or worse have been prevented, and a young, promising driver is able to walk away from a horrendous accident, to race another day. Well done NASCAR.

Eric D said...

I just want to say something that isn't said more often and that is, Thank You NASCAR. Thank you NASCAR and all who contributes to the design and construction of all of the safty devices that are at the tracks and in the cars. I don't think there is anyone out there that can dislike this car anymore. This car wasn't designed for looks, it was designed for safty. Today, we saw just what that car can do. Thanks David, great blog and great radio show.

Kathy said...

The fact Michael walked away from that wreck was nothing but amazing and a testament to the great work that goes into these cars and the safer barriers that have been added to the tracks. Thank goodness this fine young man will have many more opportunities to race ahead of him!

Richard in N.C. said...

Do you think this might mean the end to sniping at NASCAR by Muhlhern and some others in the media about the "stupidity" of the COT? Bet the NASCAR haters will find something else to blame on NASCAR, like global warming.

Anonymous said...

Amazing the man walked away.....

NASCAR was right to develop the COT. Implimenting the other safety features was a necessity. Had all not be in place, we might have been in mourning for another racer tonight.

Amy said...

Wicked crash and credit where credit is due, thank you NASCAR. You saved a life today.

stricklinfan82 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stricklinfan82 said...

Great post Mr. Poole. I couldn't have said it better myself. Dale Earnhardt's death, while obviously extremely tragic, has saved numerous lives in the years that have followed.

We tragically lost 3 NASCAR drivers in 2000 and it wasn't until the biggest superstar in the sport lost his life in a crash in 2001 that NASCAR reacted in the way in they did to create the modern-day safety initiative.

Thank God that Michael McDowell walked away okay. Thanks as well to NASCAR for mandating the safety of that race car. Thanks to the creators of the HANS device (or whatever restraint system he uses). Thanks to Randy LaJoie for designing that seat. And most of all major kudos to the creators of the SAFER Barrier and to the Texas Motor Speedway for spending the money to install that barrier there.

When I see a driver walk away from a crash like that it sure does make me think back to accidents like Dale's and other tragic incidents that weren't nearly as bad-looking and wonder how many of those drivers might have been saved if this safety initiative had begun even earlier.

But without a doubt it is certainly better late than never and I am very greatful for all the drivers that are still with us today thanks to the post-2001 safety initiative in NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

The real shame is that Earnhardt would still be alive today if Nascar had done ANYTHING after Adam Petty, Tony Roper and Kenny Irwin were all killed in 2000. That's the real shame of this story

Cheryl said...

Thrilled to see this driver walk away. Nascar has come along way, great good.
I hope all the tracks get safer barriers after seeing this crash. Can't forget Las Vegas!!!

Monkeesfan said...

It certainly shows how safe these cars are that he survived so savage a crash as he did, but it's a little presumptuous to credit Earnhardt's death for pushing forward improvement in safey. They have done nothing to take 20-25 MPH out of the speed of these cars - there is were real safety improvement lies, not in just the SAFER barriers. McDowell wold not have hit nearly as hard if the car could not reach 170 MPH at Texas.

"If it happened to Earnhardt, it could happen to anybody." That's overstating matters. It didn't happen to Andy Farr seven years earlier when he hammered that same Daytona wall so hard he cracked the concrete. It didn't happen to many others who hi those same walls the same way. We need to remember that these cars have extremely good at protecting drivers for decades.

Richard in NH - given that we've seen several instances of drivers shakn up after side impacts into SAFER barriers with the COT, I wouldn't be so smug about defending it.

The myth we need to get over was uttered by Anonymous - Dale Earnhardt would still be dead if NASCAR had acted sooner on safety matters. It is not possible to be 100% safe.

Derrick #48 fan said...

While credit certainly should be given to NASCAR, TMS, and many others, lets not forget Michael Waltrip Racing and the 00 team. While I know that most things are mandated by NASCAR, credit should be given to MWR. In a time that MWR has been taking heat for questionable actions, it's clear there are no questions as to the safety built into their cars. Thank god for all those involved who allowed Michael to walk away.

Michael said...

Honestly I get a little tired of the Earnhardt name drop everytime David Poole can't think of anything to write that will atract readers based on story content. Over the years I've learned to ignore David Pooles articles because he has a very pubic (no I didn't forget the "l") opinion of NASCAR, the drivers, and the races themselves. But like so many others I saw "Earnhardt" in the story title and clicked the link. I was a monstrous Earnhardt fan, and NASCAR changed forever for me when he died. Mr. Poole, it's time to let it go and let his memory rest in peace!! I watched over the years as the media used his name to sell their market share in stories that made no sense, and as well watched the downfall of DEI as Theresa cared more about marketing his legacy than she did about racing. To say the young Michael's life was saved because of Earnhardts death is not only one of the stupidest comments I've heard, but it is insanely obscene! Tony Roper, Kenny Irwin, and the young Adam Petty don't deserve the disrespect! Remember Steve Park from the same year? The man will never be the same, is he any less important simply because he lived through his terrible accident?

I've always been an Earnhardt fan and I always will be, but it's time to let the man rest. Does anyone really think he would want his death analyzed in this manner?

Mr. Poole, remember the man for what he did on the track and for the legions of fans who watched him every Sunday. Give credit to the NASCAR engineers that worked on the COT and the fact that the young Michael McDowell was able to walk away from his wreck. Get to racing, and leave the politics and your dogmatic view of destiny out of it....

Anonymous said...

i saw qualifying live on speed and listened to the radio replay overnight on sirius radio. i was mazed to see him move within seconds of the car coming to a rest. the slow motion showing the flex of the safer barrier as he hit the wall is the most striking piece of footage in nascar history. the broadcasters on both sides danced around the earnhardt reference. you could hear it at the tip of their tongue, but no one pulled the trigger. david poole is the lone soldier of reality in the world of nascar. i think the broadcasters did a disservice by ot mentioning the 'earnhardt' factor.

Anonymous said...

Dale Earnhardt Sr ignored expert opinions and common sense regarding his safety equipment. NASCAR no longer gives it's competitors the luxury of stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Its great how all the NASCAR journalists give all the credit to NASCAR for the safer barrier when its the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IRL that spearheaded the project. NASCAR didn't think much about safety until their golden goose got cooked!

Richard in N.C. said...

This time I have to defend David. The significantly increased safety in NASCAR is a continuing monument to what the Big E meant to the sport and his fans. He was a giant and a tribute to the American dream. His untimely demise was not in vain.

Also, my point about the COT is that now maybe the biased, NASCAR detractors in the media might have to admit that it has substantial, positive aspects.

Anonymous said...

Amen.

Anonymous said...

It would really be nice if all the people giving credit to Nascar for all these safety improvements, would kindly read a little history. Lets all go back over 50, thats right, 50 years ago when Smokey Eunich designed and patented soft wall technology, at Daytona no less, only to be told it was "too expensive" by some guy named France! Drivers died every week in the early days of Nascar racing, to the point it was routine, due to the "high" cost of safety measures that track owners would'nt spend money on.

John said...

Don't forget to give credit where it is really due: Indianapolis Motor Speedway is responsible for the SAFER walls being at all the NASCAR tracks. NASCAR was dragging their feet on SAFER, saying it wasn't ready, it was for little cars, etc. IMS refused to remove the SAFER barriers for the Brickyard, and the rest is history...

nh_nascarfan said...

Well said David.

Anonymous, we are all well aware of NASCARs history of not taking safety as seriously as they should have, and there have been far too many driver injuries and deaths because of it. But the bottom line is after the death of Dale Sr, NASCAR finally mandated that safety become a top priority. Yes, it’s a travesty that it took the death of one of the greatest drivers ever to finally get them to make the commitment, but thank God they did or we may be mourning another driver rather than watch him start 40th today.

Michael, you need to chill out and re-read what David Poole wrote. He did nothing to disrespect the man, the bottom line is that it was his tragic death that finally got NASCAR to commit to safety, and it was that commitment that saved a young mans life on Friday.

Yes, its a shame that these safety commitments came too late for so many drivers, including Dale Sr, but lets at least acknowledge that, while still a dangerous sport, NASCAR is now as safe as it has ever been.

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget Adam petty,Kenny Irwin,Tony Ropper and in some part Ernie Irvine for Nascar starting to relize that a problem with safety in how racecars and tracks interact with each other Earnhardt just magnified it by 100 so alot of dead drivers saved mcdowells life...

Monkeesfan said...

Richard In NC - the only way the COT can earn positive commentary is if we see racing where the drivers universally say, "I can suck up in dirty air to anyone, I can pass anyone, nowhere is this car tight in dirty air," and it is reflected in well over 40 lead changes a race.

The COT not only is not producing this, it is just making aeropush worse. And its advertised safety improvement doesn't look so impressive anymore even with McDowell's enormous tumble.

When we talk about real improvement in safety, let's wait until NASCAR finally and permanently cuts horsepower to make it physically impossible to reach 170 at Texas.

I never bought that NASCAR got significantly safer after Earnhardt died - the sport certainly made changes, but the notion we won't see another dark run of fatalities again is wrong. And as for what "Big E" meant to the sport and his fans, he was Jack Tatum in a racecar, and ask the Stingleys what a competitor like that means to anything.

Marc said...

anon = "It would really be nice if all the people giving credit to Nascar for all these safety improvements, would kindly read a little history. Lets all go back over 50, thats right, 50 years ago when Smokey Eunich designed and patented soft wall technology"

I guess when you read through NASCAR history you failed to note the man was Smokey Yunick, not Eunich.

anon's nonsense aside, this subject as many here do has brought out the NASCAR haters. You know, the ones that jump at every oppotunity to bash France or anyone else tied to the organization.

Contrary to some here believing NASCAR only jumped on the SAFER barrier bandwagon after Senior's death the barrier was developed by the Indy Racing League and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility beginning in 1998. NASCAR joined in the development of the project in September 2000."

I can be pretty stupid at times, but I think that means NASCAR got on that bandwagon a full 5 months before Dale Sr. died.

To the larger point, when hasn't a racing death, shall we say... "prompted" a racing organization to review and update safety measures?

Didn't it take the death of Ayrton Senna to "forece" F1 into major changes in car construction, i.e. shifting the drivers postion so their legs would be behind the front suspension?

Drivers Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald died in a fiery Indy 500 crash in 1964.

It wasn't until the following year 1965 only methanol fuel is permitted in the Indianapolis 500.

All cars were required to be equipped with a rupture-resistant fuel cell, and on-board fuel capacity is limited to 75 gallons, and a minimum of two pit stops was required for each car.

You all can belly-ache and complain about NASCAR never doing anything, "til it's too late or after a death" but that is and has been the history of ALL motorsports.

Get over it, and more importantly actually learn of the sports history prior to making a fool of yourself on a blog of forum thread.

MArc said...

monkeesfan - "the only way the COT can earn positive commentary is if we see racing where the drivers universally say, "I can suck up in dirty air to anyone, I can pass anyone, nowhere is this car tight in dirty air," and it is reflected in well over 40 lead changes a race."

Up to your old tricks I see.

When has any of that been the norm and not the exception? You're asking/wanting the impossible.

Never, I repeat never in NASCAR's history will you find a time or car design that allowed universal driver praise for the cars they were driving.

That's what drivers do, bitch, whine and moan.

If you think every driver in every starting field will EVER universally praise the car, now or in the past, you're further divorced from reality than even I imagined.

BTW, someone remind me, how many green flag lead changes were there in the 2008 Daytona 500?

Oh yeah, 16 drivers swapped the lead 42 times.

Anonymous said...

when has there EVER been "well over 40 lead changes in a race"?

The cars used today are better than the cars used prior to 2007 in every aspect including driveability, safety. They are not the same as what MonkeesFan waxes nostalgic about, but he proves to have a warped sense of reality with every post.

Richard in N.C. said...

Equating Dale E to Jack Tatum is unfair to Dale E, his family & fans, and Darryl Stingley.

My point was , and is, that there are positive aspects to the COT- it's not all negative as the many NASCAR bashers in the media (who have no hands-on racing experience) would have their readers believe.

No one will probably ever know for sure what saved McDowell's life - the HANS device, the SAFER barriers, or the COT. I don't think I would want to take the risk of eliminating any of them.

I've been a NASCAR fan long enough to remember how the downsizing of the cars was going to ruin the sport, and then how radial tires were going to ruin the sport. Rome was not built in a day. Yes, the COT appears to need work, but it's not all bad. Maybe legalizing something like Roush's "cheating" could be part of the solution.

With the benefit of hindsight, it would appear that everyone involved in NASCAR should have put more emphasis on safety in the past- but all racers know it can't happen to ME. After over 100 years only this year has major league baseball required base coaches to wear protective headgear, after an accident that could not happen.

Monkeesfan said...

Marc, 40 lead hanges a race was the norm in the 1970s and early 1980s. That's not asking for the impossible.

"Drivers will always scream - you will never see universal driver praise for the cars they were driving." Having races where all the drivers say they can pass anyone and suck up to anyone in dirty air is not necessarily the same thing as praising the cars - there is a differece between praising your car and saying you can pass anyone with it.

And the Daytona 500 this past year had 42 lead changesdespite the COT - NOT because of it.


anon #26, the COT is not better than the old car in ny aspect - not in costs, not in competition, not even in safety, as we'e see som instances of drives shaken up after side impacts against SAFER walls in the COT. They drive dimally, they're perenially tight, and they do not respond in dirty air. You want warped eality, then listen to Marc and anyone else praising the COT.

Richard in NC - comparing Earnhardt Sr. to Jack Tatum is accurate and fair. They were the same kind of competitors - dirty and despicable.

You mention how "radial tires were going to ruin the sport" - one is geniney hard pressed to see where radials did anything but damage to the sport.

The COT needs work - it needs to gve way to the old car design.

nh_nascarfan said...

Sorry Monkeesfan...

Wrong again, as always. You have proven only one thing and that is that you are sipping from some pretty strong Kool Aid.

As anyone with any sense of reality can attest to, the new car is still a work in progress when it comes to competition. Yesterday’s race in Texas proved that; although one may wonder if any car could ever bring true competitive racing to a 1.5 mile cookie cutter track.

As far as safety, you should probably just stop typing as it is evident that you have no true concept of physics, kinetic energy, mechanism of injury, and physiology of traumatic injuries. The new car was built with utilizing safety data that has been studied and developed over years of research and as such, is the safest race car we have seen TO DATE. The Michael McDowell crash supports every safety initiative that has been implemented by NASCAR; as Richard correctly pointed out, it wasn’t one specific safety feature that saved McDowell from death or serious injury, it was a combination of the HANS, SAFER barrier AND new car technology. One thing can be said for sure - had that wreck occurred even 5 years ago, the outcome certainly would have been much more tragic.

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Please provide hard copy proof that the COT is not saving money or injuries over the old car. I like the idea of drivers being shaken up instead of actually injured, I can't remember a single COT wreck that has prevented a driver from starting the next race. I am positive that JG's Vegas wreck and MM's Texas wallbanger would have caused serious injury a few years ago.

Please provide some hard statistics that the races in the 70's and 80's had well over 40 lead changes per race. I must have missed them the first time.

I don't mind if the COT drives differently and gives the fans a different kind of competition, in fact I think it is a good thing. It would be even better if they could take more downforce away and get the cars to slide around more...kind of like they did on bias ply tires.

nh_nascarfan said...

Anonymous, you must be new around here. Monkeesfan will never provide any facts to back up his wild ranting, he talks out of an orifice that was never meant to excrete words, just excrement... which of course is what he types.

I agree with you about not minding a different type of car, but it is going to take a while for teams to figure it out, as evident by the Texas race yesterday. They are all starting from scratch, which is not always a bad thing.

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

Monkeesfan said...

nh nascarfan and anonymous #30, if you know anything about racing history the facts are presented there and they support my argument and refute yours.

The COT is still a work in progress? Meaning what, that it needs major changes to work? And when those changes inevitably morph it back to the old car (because the old car was a fundamentally sounder concept and design), what is to be said then?

If you're wondering if any kind of car can bring true competitive racing to a "1.5-mile cookie cutter track," you need to find film or tape of Charlotte in 1978-80, Atlanta in 1980, Charlotte in 1974, and Las Vegas in March 1997; and for good measure find tapes of IRL at Chicagoland 2002-4, Texas 1998-2002, Kansas 2001, and Kentucky 2000.

You want concepts of kinetic energy etc. then rewatch Dave Marcis' Pocono crash of 1999 or Andy Farr's Daytona crash of 1994 or John Andretti's Daytona crash of 1996 or.... you get the idea. Michael McDowell's crash was scary, but in terms of safety effeciveness the car involved was not the eye-opening life-saver some are portraying it to be; it was no different really from those above-mentioned crashes. The cars have been excellent at protecting drives for decades; the COT adds nothing to safety despite the propaganda blitz we allow outselves to absorb. No nh, had the wreck happened five years ago, he'd still be okay.

So stop lecturing and start learning real history, guys.

Monkeesfan said...

BTW anonymous, drivers shaken up is a small step toward driver injuries. These are closer calls than a lot of us want to think; when we eventually get wrecks in COTs where drivers are forced to sit for a race or more - maybe sooner than we suspect - what will you say then?

1974 WORLD 600 - 37 official lead changes
1974 NATIONAL 500 - 47 official lead changes
1976 WORLD 600 - 37 official lead changes
1978 WORLD 600 - 43 official lead changes
1979 WORLD 600 - 60 official lead changes
1980 WORLD 600 - 47 official lead changes
1980 NATIONAL 500 - 43 official lead changes
1981 DIXIE 500 - 35 official lead changes
1982 DIXIE 500 - 45 official lead changes

Study real history, anonymous, before you lecture anyone about providing proof.

Anonymous said...

9 races out of 350+ does little to support your argument. I bet you can find far more than 9 races in the same time frame that were won by margins of over a lap.

Drivers merely shaken up is a LARGE step towards safety. And be honest, there haven't been too many drivers shaken up in the COT. I would hardly call McDowell or Gordon "shaken up" after their episodes....both were giving interviews less than 10 minutes after coming to rest. They were certainly in far better shape than Steve Park, Kenny Schrader, Ernie Irvan, Sterling Marlin, etc were after similar wrecks.

Serious injuries will continue to happen in auto racing, it is a dangerous sport and always will be. It is impossible, but if we could completely take the danger out of auto racing the thrill will be gone for most. (FYI, I don't agree with it, but that is the fact for most fans)


The COT is fine. Teams need time to learn the intricacies of making this particular vehicle travel in a circle faster than the next guy, but it will happen. It is different racing, but by no means BAD racing. (you want bad racing, attend an IMCA/USRA/UMP modified show sometime) Why do you have such a boner for the COT? Basic physics and common sense tells you that it is safer, how come you can't see that?

I know my racing history quite well thank you, that is why I enjoy challenging you to back up your ill-formed opinions.

Anonymous said...

The wreck was horrific and the COT has proven its safety worth. Credit also has to be given to TMS and its safety team and track design and maitenance. They keep that track in very good shape and they have no crazy dangerous openings like LVMS and this is amazing since they both are owned by SMI. Eddie Gossage and his team are very safety concerned and work well with NASCAR. LVMS should follow the lessons of their sister track.

nh_nascarfan said...

anonymous...

You get an A for effort; I anxiously sit here awaiting Monkeesfans lame ramblings. He shows absolutely no logic whatsoever and rarely backs himself up with facts, and as you point out, he will bring in a few meaningless pieces of information that, taken out of context and left unchallenged, could somehow validate his point. He blows hot air, and how dare anyone such as myself or Marc and now yourself challenge his 'dogma'? He expects people to believe what he writes, regardless of how off base it is.

I for one have no issues with his dislike for the new car and its racing style, it’s all a matter of opinion. I agree with you, he has a hard on for it and no real facts to back it up, but he insists on hating it without giving it a chance. If you check the archives of this blog, going back to before the first COT race - Bristol spring race 2007 - you will see he already judged it an 'unqualified failure' before it had ever run one green lap. No matter how good the racing becomes, he has already judged it. He dreams of the 'good old days' of NASCAR when the winning car routinely finished several laps ahead of the rest of the field. He of course fails to mention this little nugget when he throws a few races out there in which there were a fair amount of passes. Funny thing about Monkeesfan is when you actually provide true fact to back up what you write; he comes up with some lame statement and just expects you to believe it, even with no actual facts to back himself up. Here is the latest example after Marc correctly cited 16 drivers with 42 lead changes for this years Daytona 500 in the new car…

‘And the Daytona 500 this past year had 42 lead changesdespite the COT - NOT because of it.’

No facts, no logical theory to back that statement up. Just one sentence that we are all expected to react as such… “ohhhh, if he said it, it MUST be true!’. Sorry Monkeesfan, no dice.

Further evidence is his lambasting of scoring loop data. Worthless he says. But one thing he can’t logically argue is when you compare the two same races a year apart, such as comparing the old car with the new. Same track, same mileage, different car – the car being the ONLY variable. For example, compare the spring races in Bristol for 2006 (old car) with 2007 (new car), utilizing the term ‘quality passes’:

Bristol 2007: 355 quality passes
Bristol 2006: 157 quality passes

Note there were well over twice as many ‘quality passes’ with the new car over the old; yet instead of having a logical – EDUCATED – discussion on the statistical relevance of these numbers, such as the fact that the ONLY variable that was changed was the car, he will come back with the following statements:

“Scoring Loop Data is bogus” – note the presence of opinion only, no facts.
“Quality Passes don’t count passes for the lead, which is all that counts” – again, a useless statement that is merely opinion

What he won’t do is discuss the numbers and what they mean. Why did the new car have twice as many ‘quality passes’ – a definable, objective data point that remains a statistical constant?

If one were to look at the numbers comparing different tracks, the numbers show that the new car fares better as far as ‘quality passes’ on short tracks, whereas the old car did better on the intermediate tracks. But again, don’t expect any substance from him as to why this may be the case, just expect his opinions that the new car is an ‘unqualified failure’ – as opposed to a qualified failure, meaning that there would be actual data and statistical results to judge the performance of the new car.

Yes, Monkeesfan can whine all he wants about the on track competition, but he knows not what he talks about in regards to safety. What bothers me isn’t that he doesn’t know what he is talking about; he in fact doesn’t care, forgetting that there is an actual human being inside the car running around a track for HIS entertainment purposes. He preaches that the old car was ‘just fine’ and that the new cars safety features are ‘overrated’, yet conveniently ignores all – yes ALL – of the proven scientific crash test data that the new car is significantly safer than the old. What’s odd is that in his first post on this thread I actually thought for a brief moment that he was going to admit that the new cars safety features – combined with the HANS and SAFER barrier – most likely saved the life of Michael Mcdowell, but I was wrong. He quickly returned to drinking his Kool Aid and ‘pooh poohed’ the whole thing; I honestly believe he is anxiously awaiting a driver to be seriously hurt or killed so that he can rant on and say ‘I told you so’ and ‘the new car isn’t safer at all’, or whatever else the voices tell him to write. Sadly, as we all know, even Monkeesfan (I hope), is that all forms of motorsports have a certain element of danger and his prophecy, despite the new car and other safety initiatives, may some day come true.

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Hey, it's America. He has the right to be wrong.

His chosen nickname probably tells it all, a fabricated pop group that tried to fool the world into thinking they were musicians by lip-synching their way through life.

Monkeesfan said...

anonymous, your arrogance is matched by your ignorance. Your argument about margin of victory ignores competitiveness, and gventhat the sport has seen well over 50 races in the Winston era with over 40 lead changes, it does a lot to support my argument - bcause it is the norm, not the exception.

Drivers shaken up is closer to injury than an improvemnt in safety worth celebrating. "There haven't been too many drivers shaken up with the COT." The old car was the same in that regard, so the net improvement realistially is nil.

Don't be so smug about comparing to Ernie Irvan or Sterling Marlin wrecks because the COT is more lucky than good in that regard; it has not impoved anything in terms of safety. McDowell's weck proved nothing.

The COT is not fine beause it is a ridiculous design that adds nothing to safety, does nothing to cut costs, and does nothing but degrade the competition. The teams keep working on it and it is not getting better; it is only gettng worse. "It is by no means BAD racing." Oh yes it is bad racing - it is uncompetitive and cannot get better with this design.

You claim to know history, yet project nothing but ignorance about it - you say the COT is safer, then cite something about McDowell's wreck that was different from Dave Marcis' Pocono wreck in 1999. Support your own opinions with realworld examples instead of disputing my points.

nh nascarfan, you keep lecturing me about facts yet I regularly cite historical examples that prove my points, and you never provide any yourself. You know nothing about context because context ruins your arguments, not mine. You cite scientific datafor te COT's safety, but nowhere does your data prove anyhing that history had not already proven - or disproven.

The COT was an unqualified failure before it raced because Not once in nearly eighteen months of testing did the COT fulfill any promise made for it - it increased aeropush; it made no legitimate effort at nullifying the spending advantages of money guy teams; its safety improvement was a lot of hot air that undersold the excellence of the old car's safety ability.

You cite scoring loop data and fall into the trap of assuing it means aything. Lead changes and position change in the top ten are the only "qualty passes" that matter; NASCAR includes lapped cars crowding the top 15 as "quality passes." The statistic is designed to fool the viewer into thinking he's seeing somethng more wonderful than he in fact is seeing.
Tht's why there are "more" "quality passes" withthe COT - because to support the COT numbers are made to lie.

Agin, here are the numbers that matter - lead changes; top ten postion changes. Here is what is supposed to happen for the COT to be succssful - 40-plus lead changes has to be the norm; drivers all have to be saying "I can suck up to and pass anyone out there" "My car wants to race in dirty air" "I don't care were we qualify, we can pass the entire field under green."

By those numbers, the COT's failure is statistically manifest.

In the 2007 Daytona 500 and Firecracker 400, the old car saw multiple laps of sustained nose to nose racing up front. The Firecracker 400 finish was a seven-lap drag race between ten cars.

In the 2008 Daytona 500 the racing with the COT was more dependent on a flurry of yellows to get side by side racing than was the case with the old car. The COTs pushed more than the old car all race long. The 500 was good despite the COT; the COT made no improvement in the racing.

As for your saetcheap shot a the end, I noted early in this discussion the one near-foolproof improvement in safty they can make - take 25 MPH out of the speed of the cars. Do that and you will get a real improvement in safety.

Anonymous said...

Monkee, do not be a hypocrite and lecture me about arrogance.

Pulling random statistics to support your argument while ignoring others is arrogance. Your version of revisonist history is arrogance. You are telling me that counting position changes throughout the field at 6-10 points does not matter while trying to justify the importance of a single position at a single spot on the track is?

Why do you claim that the MM or JG wrecks were more luck than planned engineering? There have been enough races with the new car to start comparing data and I can not remember a single driver being "shaken up" in a COT....I do remember plenty of my heroes busted up pretty bad before the COT. It isn't all the COT obviously, but common sense HAS to tell you that it is putting the driver safer environment.

Sunday's race in Texas reminded me of a 70's/80's era race in the fact that one driver got it figured out quicker than anyone else and dominated.

Passes for lead count but margin of victory do not? Give me a break...your own logic is flawed.

I don't know if you consider yourself an engineer, journalist or both but you are not very good at either. You hate change and your arugments fail to prove any other point.

nh_nascarfan said...

Monkeesfan said...
“anonymous, your arrogance is matched by your ignorance. Your argument about margin of victory ignores competitiveness, and gventhat the sport has seen well over 50 races in the Winston era with over 40 lead changes, it does a lot to support my argument - bcause it is the norm, not the exception.”

50 races in 20 + years? That doesn’t do much to support anything at all, especially since you conveniently ‘forget’ to mention the number of races in which the winner was decided by multiple laps, not multiple seconds as is the norm now.

“Drivers shaken up is closer to injury than an improvemnt in safety worth celebrating. "There haven't been too many drivers shaken up with the COT." The old car was the same in that regard, so the net improvement realistially is nil.

Don't be so smug about comparing to Ernie Irvan or Sterling Marlin wrecks because the COT is more lucky than good in that regard; it has not impoved anything in terms of safety. McDowell's weck proved nothing.”

Of course it must be lucky – damn all the scientific crash test data – luck is the only thing that it could possibly be as anything other than that would blow your weak argument out of the water completely. Why don’t you ask Michael McDowell what the improved safety of the new car proved to him? The very fact that he is still around to be asked speaks volumes. Oh wait, I forgot, your MO is that he is a rookie and therefore his opinions are worth nothing, so lets see what Tony Stewart had to say about it:

"That was the hardest hit I think I've ever seen anybody take," Stewart said. "It makes you look at what all NASCAR has done and say they've done a good job. We've got a lot of people to thank today."

“The COT is not fine beause it is a ridiculous design that adds nothing to safety, does nothing to cut costs, and does nothing but degrade the competition. The teams keep working on it and it is not getting better; it is only gettng worse. "It is by no means BAD racing." Oh yes it is bad racing - it is uncompetitive and cannot get better with this design.

You claim to know history, yet project nothing but ignorance about it - you say the COT is safer, then cite something about McDowell's wreck that was different from Dave Marcis' Pocono wreck in 1999. Support your own opinions with realworld examples instead of disputing my points.”

This is where your ignorance about crash data and kinetics truly shines. There is no way to completely duplicate the exact amount of kinetic energy at the exact angle of the crash and the exact speed as the two crashes. The very fact that these are two completely different tracks with two completely different cars and with different restraint systems, different seats, and different human beings makes comparing one crash to another akin to comparing apples and bricks. What does show, loud and clear, is your complete disregard for any safety standards, utilizing the fact that one driver in a horrendous wreck walked away largely because of blind ass luck as your basis for claiming that the new car is no safer than the old. It’s like stating that cigarettes do not cause cancer because you know one person who has been a 2 pack a day smoker for 50 years and doesn’t have cancer. One isolated case does not a fact make.

“nh nascarfan, you keep lecturing me about facts yet I regularly cite historical examples that prove my points, and you never provide any yourself. You know nothing about context because context ruins your arguments, not mine. You cite scientific datafor te COT's safety, but nowhere does your data prove anyhing that history had not already proven - or disproven.’

History – meaning stuff that has already happened – with a different car and different safety devices in no way can be correlated with the new car or its safety devices as they are completely unrelated. What history does prove with you is that you are living in the past which is fabricated in your own mind about how great things used to be and how safe things used to be, and you have no data at all to back it up. The safety data on the new car is out there, and it is extensive. You should perhaps check it out some time rather than making unqualified statements based on what you perceive to be the truth; this is a discussion that you and I have been having for well over a year regarding the new car and if you care to go back and look at the archives of this blog, you will see that I have cited multiple references, all verifiable, on the new safety features of the new car. Of course, you, the all knowing Monkeesfan, blew them all off, with the simple statement that they mean nothing, so we must all take them as fact BECAUSE YOU SAID SO. Incidentally, I have routinely provided historical references to debunk your ramblings when relevant, and each time you either (a) ignore them, or (b) state that they mean nothing with no further facts to refute them or even a slight explanation as to why they mean nothing. Bottom line is whatever disproves your whacked out theories you ignore and/or insult, regardless of the true facts.

‘The COT was an unqualified failure before it raced because Not once in nearly eighteen months of testing did the COT fulfill any promise made for it - it increased aeropush; it made no legitimate effort at nullifying the spending advantages of money guy teams; its safety improvement was a lot of hot air that undersold the excellence of the old car's safety ability.’

Yes, all you can provide is that the safety improvement was ‘hot air’ and the old car was ‘excellent’. Well, the old car was indeed safe, but the new car is in fact SAFER. The numbers are out there to prove that, but you call it hot air. Perhaps you should try giving us some more than your hot air to back yourself up, as you are the ONLY one out there who is disputing the safety of the new car. Nobody with any credibility in auto racing disputes the safety features. As far as competition? It’s a brand new car, and obviously some teams have hit on the right setup (Hendrick in 2007, Rousch in 2008), so it’s going to take time and testing. Was it released too early? That depends on what’s important to you. If competition is most important, than yes, another year of R&D and testing would have helped. If safety was most important, well then it isn’t too early… just ask Michael McDowell.

‘You cite scoring loop data and fall into the trap of assuing it means aything. Lead changes and position change in the top ten are the only "qualty passes" that matter; NASCAR includes lapped cars crowding the top 15 as "quality passes." The statistic is designed to fool the viewer into thinking he's seeing somethng more wonderful than he in fact is seeing.
Tht's why there are "more" "quality passes" withthe COT - because to support the COT numbers are made to lie.’

Again, you not only prove that you are math illiterate, you also prove illiteracy to the English language. If you go back and re-read what I wrote, you will see that scoring loop data and the term ‘quality passes’ is in fact a quantifiable mathematical constant. Since it is a CONSTANT every race, then it is indeed a valuable piece of information; specifically it tells you how many passes per race (quality passes to be exact), and HOW they measure it is CONSTANT (It’s a basic math skill concept learned in 6th grade). If they measure ‘quality passes’ the same way between Bristol 2006 and Bristol 2007, which they did, then it clearly shows DOUBLE the number of ‘quality passes’ as the old car. Incidentally, the old car fared better in Phoenix between 2006 and 2007, an intermediate track. Like any statistic, one needs to understand how to read a statistic to make it valuable, and every time you thump your chest about scoring loop data meaning nothing only shows that you have never taken introduction to statistics in high school.

‘Agin, here are the numbers that matter - lead changes; top ten postion changes. Here is what is supposed to happen for the COT to be succssful - 40-plus lead changes has to be the norm; drivers all have to be saying "I can suck up to and pass anyone out there" "My car wants to race in dirty air" "I don't care were we qualify, we can pass the entire field under green."

By those numbers, the COT's failure is statistically manifest.’

Your OPINION of what numbers really matter – lead changes and top ten position changes – I agree with. Bear in mind that NOBODY – myself included – ever stated that scoring loop data accurately captures that information. As explained, it is a different measurement than you expect, and you are pissed that you aren’t getting what you want so you call the information bogus. If you knew how to interpret statistics, including statistical probabilities and constants, then you would have a better understanding of what it all means. I suppose I can’t criticize you for your lack of education, I just wish you wouldn’t flaunt it and pretend that you know what you are talking about.

‘In the 2007 Daytona 500 and Firecracker 400, the old car saw multiple laps of sustained nose to nose racing up front. The Firecracker 400 finish was a seven-lap drag race between ten cars.

In the 2008 Daytona 500 the racing with the COT was more dependent on a flurry of yellows to get side by side racing than was the case with the old car. The COTs pushed more than the old car all race long. The 500 was good despite the COT; the COT made no improvement in the racing.’

Statistically invalid arguments, as always.

'As for your saetcheap shot a the end, I noted early in this discussion the one near-foolproof improvement in safty they can make - take 25 MPH out of the speed of the cars. Do that and you will get a real improvement in safety.'

Nice theory, except that its not based in the laws of physics. A 2 ton piece of metal hitting a wall at 170 mph versus 190 mph will still have a huge transfer of kinetic energy, which is a transfer that the human body was not designed to accept. In fact, even at 90mph, at such tracks at Martinsville, that amount of energy transfer is enough to kill a person instantly. It’s the safety features that have been mandated by NASCAR that has allowed the energy transfer to be dispersed away from the human being inside that has saved lives. Incidentally, the recent death of Midget racer Shane Hammond this past weekend at Thomson International Speedway, in a car that was traveling no more than 110 mph (significantly slower than your magic number of 170mph) proves that its not the speed that kills, it’s the kinetic energy that is allowed to reach the body; and it’s the safety equipment that disperses it. The new car does a flat out better job than the old car, or midget cars, or any other type of car that has been developed to date. The numbers prove it; just choosing to not believe them does not change actual facts.

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

Monkeesfan said...

anonymous, pulling statistics to buttress realworld observation and history is truth; you lecturing me or others is arrogance. The top spots are the only positions that matter in a race, thus it is lead changes and position changes in the top ten that can only count as "quality passes." Position changes 11-15 and lapped cars crowding the leaders on restarts (which is how NASCAR inflates "quality passes" on its scoring loop data) mean nothing beyond the finishing order behind the leaders.

And the fact remains there has been no increase in passing with the COT; only a decrease.

"Why do you claim the MM or JG wrecks are more luck than planned engineering?" Because nothing that has been put into these cars - crush zones, padding, a bigger roofline - amount to what they're hyped to be in the real world. Those wrecks were no different from Dave Marcis at Pocono in 1999, Jeff Green at New Hampshire in 1998, John Andretti at Daytona in 1996, Todd Bodine in Talladega's backstretch infield in 1996, and on and on; these cars have been excellent in protecting drivers for decades. The McDowell crash wasn't anything special after witnessing huge hits for two-plus decades.

If you can't remember any driver being shaken up after a COT wreck, it's because you aren't paying enough attention. Common sense doesn't say anything about the COT being better in safety; it's simply the COT being given credit for something the older cars did well.

Sunday's Texas race was nothing like a 1970s or 1980s race; if it had been that there would have been over 40 lead changes. And no, margin of victory doesn't "count" - Richard Petty won the 1974 Daytona 500 by 47 seconds - after 60 lead changes among 15 drivers. Dave Marcis won at Talladega in 1976 by over 35 seconds - after 57 lead changes among ten drivers. Jef Gordon won at Pocono in 1996 by a fairly big margin (I offhand don't remember, I think it was by about five or more seconds), yet during that race the lead bounced around in every corner for about a third of the distance (I'm certain they'd have counted over 40 lead changes by loop data if they had the loops back then).

Your rebuttals to my arguments are what prove nothing, anonymous - instead fo lecturing, start learning.

nh - see above. The facts are - the COT is not safer; it has increassed aeropush; it has done nothing to cut costs in the sport. You use a lot of verbiage but ultimately say nothing, and your dismissal of history is necessary because history refutes all of your arguments and you can't fight back against it.

Your ignorance shows when you dismiss taking 25 MPH out of the speed of the cars as somehow not based on the laws of physics. Taking 25 MPH out of the speed of the cars as a safety improvement is Physics 101 - slower is safer. You cite 90 MPH at Martinsville as if 90 MPH at Texas is in any way similar. It isn't. 110 at Thompson in a mini-sprint car is not the same as 190 at Texas. The numbers you cite are corrupted by your agenda to buttkiss the COT. The facts are simple - 190 is not safe at Texas; 165 is. Again, the laws of physics and that pesky history proves it.

So the bottom line is there never was justification for the COT and it is time to tear it up and go back to the old car.

End of debate.

nh_nascarfan said...

End of debate? It was over a long time ago, as you have proven nothing whatsoever.

Hitting a wall at 90mph is hitting a wall at 90mph. 190 mph is 190 mph. You are now trying to alter the laws of physics based on your warped sense of reality. Not surprising, since I doubt very seriously you have ever taken physics. Nor have you taken statistics, as evident by your foolish argument that, with the mathematical constant that is scoring loop data, you still insist that the numbers are not true when in fact the laws of mathematics say otherwise.

Here is the crux of your argument:

(1) New car is not safer than the old, despite the fact that you can provide ZERO supportive facts on your argument, nor can you provide even one crew chief/driver/engineer that agrees with you.

(2) The laws of physics no longer exist because they 100% refute your foolish presentation.

(3) The laws of mathematics no longer exist because they 100% refute your foolish presentation.

(4) The laws of kinematics of trauma no longer exist because they 100% refute your foolish presentation.

Yes, I suppose the debate is indeed over, as it never really was a debate. You are once again proven a fool of fools...

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

David Poole said...

Monkeesfan, Dr. Dean Sicking told us on the radio Monday that Michael McDowell's car had a change of velocity measured at 70 mph at point of impact. The change of velocity in Dale Earnhardt's wreck in 2001 was 42 to 44 mph (as measured by photo and other data since they had no data recorders at that point). Earnhardt died in his car. McDowell walked away. There were other factors -- SAFER barrier, HANS, a better seat -- but can you honestly say the COT had no role in the fact that McDowell endured such a savage crash with no real injuries? I don't think you can.

Anonymous said...

Please name a driver that was "shaken up" in a COT crash. JG, TS and MM were not, each gave an interview stating that they were just fine less than 30 minutes after wrecking. I researched some of the incidents you provided and found out that the drivers did indeed suffer injuries....in Dave Marcis's case a concussion, deep bruises among other injuries. (FYI, your ripping of Poole's book on Amazon.com contains mis-information as well....Kenny Schrader suffered a bruised sternum in his accident that was similar to Sr's fatal)

Pulling random statistics without looking at the whole picture does nothing to support your arguments. Any fool can use random statistics to prove any outragous position they choose to.

I don't pretend to be able to change your mind. My only goal is to make sure you don't make others believe your garbage merely by repeating it over and over unchallenged.

Monkeesfan said...

nh nascarfan - yes, end of debate, and you lose on facts. Hitting a wall on a superspeeway at a speed 25 MPH below what the track can reach is manifestly not the same as hitting a wall on a short track at a speed above what the track can handle Cut the horsepower so the cars can't reach 170 at Texas, and you drasticaly cut the severity of impact. It's physics 101 - slower = less severity of impact.

Here is the crux of the argument -

1 - The COT is not safer; no amount of "science" has ever proven it to be safer. History is all the proof you need; you can disregard all the crew chiefs etc. that you quote because they can't change history.

2 - The Laws of physics are distorted to support your argument.

3-4 - Just pointless rubbish by you. As you cannot cite any history to support your argument nd I hav reuted it with numerous historical examples, you lose. End of debate. No to the COT.
David, then tell me how Dave Marcis escaped without serious injury from his Pocono crash in 1999, and Jeff Green from New Hampshire in 1998, and John Andretti at Daytona in 1996, and on and on. So yes I can say the COT had no role in him surviving that wreck - it wasn't missed in those previous wrecks and would not hav been missed in others.

And can Dean Sicking tell us what his impact would have been if the car could not reach 170 MPH instead of the 190 it reached? Can he say slowing the cars down by 25 MPH won't make them safer? Thre's no reason to believe it won't.

I am damned tired of giving this COT credit it doesn't deserve because doing so belttles the effectiveness of the old cars and the effort for safety of before - the old car was excellent in protecting drvers; all they had to do as far as safety went was take 25 MPH out of the speed. If they'd done that then McDowell's crash would never have approached the level of severty it did.

It's the mentality that the sport is choking on - instead of looking for simple solutions that work, the sport concocts complex solutions and makes them even mor so, and alwys winds up no better off than before.

Anon, Schrader's injury was never there. Marcis was shaken and suffered some bruises but was not as badly injured as you assert. I was at that race and saw him walk okay after that wreck, so your research was perfunctory nd insincere.

Also, I'm the one using stats to look at the whole picture; your goal is toobfscate he big picture. Instead of lecturing me bout anything, start rethinking your opinion of things.


The Bottom line is this - It is time to abandon the COT. Disband the whole program, go back to the old car, bol on roof spoilersfor drag, go to a 7.5-inch rear spoiler, and restrict the horsepower to cut speds by 25 MPH.

Monkeesfan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monkeesfan said...

I tried to post a link to this but the link didn't come out -

If you wish, check out the blogs of MD80891 at The Sporting News website for some of the strongest analysis of the COT yet put to print, from its competitive shortcomings to the overrated aspect of is safety promises.

nh_nascarfan said...

Monkeesfan, citing a blogger as your source rather than actual scientific data does nothing to support your argument, rather it does clearly shows just how big a fool you truly are. I would suggest that you consider it ‘strong analysis’ because it supports your argument, whereas you debunk anything that disagrees with your distorted viewpoint.

Law of physics… 170 mph is 170 mph, the name of the track has NOTHING to do with that as physics just doesn’t care one way or the other if its Talladega or Martinsville. The SAME amount of kinetic energy will be transferred; just because cars cant reach 200 mph at Martinsville doesn’t mean that 200 mph worth of kinetic energy wouldn’t be transferred if the car did hit 200 mph at Martinsville. You completely ignore the laws of physics in your argument, and anyone who has even taken intro to physics in general science in 8th grade will be able to tell you that you are flat wrong.

You debunk science and crew chiefs who deal with the car every day. That alone is proof that you are a more ignorant than I ever imagined you to be. Just wishing your theories to be true does not make them true.

Explain how I distort the laws of physics in regards to transfer of energy? This should be good…

History doesn’t mean much when the entire car has changed as well as the addition of SAFER barriers, new seats, and the HANS device. The fact that any driver survived some of the horrific wrecks of the 70s and 80s is more attributed to luck rather than state of the art safety devices. Keep in mind that many did not survive or suffered serious injuries. Michael McDowell walked away uninjured. Reducing speeds without additional safety features in the cars will do little to nothing to protect a driver, the laws of physics have dictated that.

Saying you saw Schrader walk away uninjured as your only basis for stating he was uninjured is moronic; each year thousands of people ‘walk in’ to emergency departments with serious, life threatening injuries, often after a motor vehicle crash (at much slower speeds than a race car, some at 30 mph) – injuries such as cervical fractures with paresthesia, grade V liver and splenic lacerations, ruptured bowels, fractured pelvis, torn aortas, pulmonary contusions, pneumo and hemo thoraces, subdural bleeding, and more. Incidentally, a bruised sternum is a serious injury that can lead to serious complications, such as arrhythmia, pneumothorax, hemothorax, cardiac contusion, pulmonary laceration, and more. No chest injury is ‘minor’; to say otherwise proves just how ignorant you really are.

I'm not sure what world you live in, but it may be time for you to take a good, long look in the mirror and ask yourself... 'Am I really as stupid as people think I am?'. I doubt your ego would allow you to admit the truth, but trust me, you are. You do realize people are laughing at you, don’t you?

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I was wrong, Schrader broke his sternum during the 98 Twin 125's in Daytona.

We happen to agree that the aero charchteristics of the COT need help. We disagree on the solution. Your ideal solution would result in drivers flat footing around every single track...not my idea of a good time. I would rather see guys working the throttle and brake constantly...IE much less downforce.

Present your goofball ideas as opinion or prepare to do a better job of defending them. So far you have proven to be nothing more than a whacko with an axe to grind because something changed

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of COT, not a fan at all; but I am a fan of a driver walking away after a violent accident. I am also not a fan of drumming up emotion by proliferating Earnhardt as the savior/martyr of the "new" NASCAR. All of the safety innovations that are in the sport today originated in other series. Safety is and should be, the top priority in any form of racing. That is where the COT is outstanding. My question is, why couldn't the old car and chassis be retrofitted with the door foam, extensions of roof height ect...and had the COT undergo a couple of years of hardcore testing by a small group of people, to provide a wroking baseline that could be provided to all of the teams? I currently race in a series where all of the chassis and engines are the same. There is still a wide gap between the top tier teams, and the underfunded back markers. I see this as being the main problem in NASCAR with the COT. The less funded teams just cannot afford the vast resources of the power houses, and are therefore late, or behind the curve on gathering accurate baseline data, and growing workable setups from that data. It doesn't help that the COT has a very fine between setup properly, and being rubbish. My feeling is that this is due to the fact that there are no, or very minute aerodynamic adjustments that can be made, so all of the tweaking involves shock/spring rates, tire pressure and such, but those adjustments can only take you so far when adjusting to a under/oversteer that is most likely the result of poor aero performance...Just my opinions though, maybe some of you NASCAR faithful, or those of you who work in the sport, can help a casual fan (me) understand all of this.

nh_nascarfan said...

Anonymous, I will do the best I can for what its worth.

You are correct in that many of the safety ‘innovations’ were not NASCARs doing at all and were being utilized r developed in other series long before NASCAR adopted them. The point that David and other made in their reference to Earnhardt ‘saving lives’ was simply that it took his tragedy for NASCAR to finally get on board with protecting the driver.

I believe much of the new safety innovations in the new car MAY have been placed in the old car design; however there was more than safety to be considered in the move to the new car design. Had it been just a safety issue, I believe the old car would have accepted quite a few of the changes without affecting the overall design. The other goals that NASCAR had besides driver safety were to create a car that every team could utilize every week, thus leveling the playing field. With minimal allowable modifications to body style, the high cost of wind tunnel testing and having engineers on staff would, in theory, be eliminated. It was an attempt to get back to a day when every team would have a shot at winning, regardless of financial status. To a certain point, they succeeded in that you definitely have to DRIVE this car, there are very few aero changes that you can make to it, so it really does put the race back into the hands of the driver. I agree that there should be more testing time, and if competition is your top priority, then it was wrong to release the new car as soon as they did. If, on the other hand, safety is the top priority, then the new car had to be released as soon as possible.

As far as the financial factor, most experts agree that it will be several years before the playing field is ‘more level’, and will never be truly leveled. The start up cost of building all new cars, testing, and engineering has been enormous to date; but in theory – and this remains to be seen – there will eventually come a day when Petty Enterprises and the Wood Brothers will be able to field a car as competitive as Hendrick, Rousch, or Gibbs. The problem you mention about the financial gap between the rich and the poor related to the new car has been a long standing NASCAR issue with the old car, that gap may widen for a few years but hopefully will close up.

It will take time for teams to figure this thing out, bear in mind that the old car had years of race and testing data behind it so making changes was relatively easy; teams now have virtually no data with this car so there will certainly be a good sized learning curve. You will eventually see teams start to hit on the right combinations; the Hendrick dominance of 2007 and Carl Edward mastery of the intermediate tracks this year have proven that. Patience is the key here.

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

Monkeesfan said...

Mark, citing a blogger - and BTW, I got the link fixed - does help the argument because the blog cites information you ignore. If you'd take the time and objectivity to read it, you'll see that your argument doesn't hold up as much as you think it does.

Law of physics does take into account size and configuration of track and speed of the car - David, in citing data from Dean Sicking, helps prove this point, intentionally or not. It is simple logic - if the cars are slower, they will not hit with the same degree of severity. I have never understood what it is you don't want to accept here. If they take 25 MPH out of the speed of the cars, the severity of impacts will significantly drop.

Foolproof? Of course not. More effective than the COT? Manifestly yes. It doesn't take all this science you want to cite to figure this out.

History means everything because it shows that all those changes you cite are less than meet the eye. You keep getting it backwards - it wasn't luck in those previous wrecks; it is more luck today because those changes are not as great as you think they are.

Saying I saw Marcis (not Schrader) walk away shows that he was not as injured as you claim he was, and that the cars then were as good as today in protecting drivers.

I live in the real world, Mark - they're laughing at you, not me.


On the COT and the theories behind it in terms of competitiveness - what we are seeing is that all those theories (that the playing field would be leveled by tightening the templates etc., that the racing would improve by cutting downforce, that teams would be able to get away from "20 different cars for 20 different tracks") are backfiring - the COT is doing the opposite of what was promised by it. You keep saying patience is the key, but there is nothing in the COT to leave any reason to think it will ever live up to any promise assigned to it. The design simply cannot work, the theory that it will reduce teams' fleets rests on a faulty appraisal of why teams have as many cars as they do, the tighter specs simply play into the bigger teams' hands by increasing the effectiveness of increasingly expensive and sophisticated computer engineering machinery, and it all adds up to escalating costs - because the "one size fits all" mindset behind it is a joke; one size doesn't fit all.

anon #49 - you want drivers to have to drive the cars instead of race each other. That doesn't work; it stymies the ability of racers to race. It is not racing, it is a waste of a sport. Racing is open throttle. If you don;t like that kind of racing then there is something wrong with your perceptive skills - and your cheap fit of closing solipsism further suggests such a weakness.

David Poole said...

Monkeesfan: Unless you are Dean Sicking's boss at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraske, I think I will go with his science over your "logic" if you don't mind.

First, the COT is not in anyway solely responsible for McDowell's survival. That's absurd. But it IS a part of the equation, whether you like it or not. The COT, the walls, the HANS, the seats, the better restraints all helped him make it through that. A lot of what's been done inside the car is integrated into the COT and that makes it all work better. Nobody is ripping the old car. No driver ever got in a car thinking it wasn't as safe as it could be, at least not one with any sense. When the old car was new, it was state of the art. That state of the art evolves.

I completely agree the cars should be slowed down, 10 percent or so everywhere they race. But despite the fact it seems logical that would make racing safer, that ain't necessarily so. Drivers die in short-track wrecks where they were traveling 70 mph or so every year. There's a famous film shown in safety demonstrations of a young Johnny Benson hitting a wall at 35 mph that shows his neck distending to a frightening degree. This was pre-HANS.

What hurts you is when you lose velocity instantenously. The car stops but you don't unless something -- a belt, a HANS or something -- stops you. What also hurts drivers is energy being transfered to the cockpit. If the car crushes or the wall bends that is energy being absorbed before it gets there. You can be going 300 mph (as in drag racing) and if there's a wreck that doesn't mean you die. If your theory were true, wouldn't twice as many drag racers die at 320 mph as stock car drivers do at 160? It's more about how fast you stop, not how fast you go.

Anonymous said...

My perceptive skills are just fine thank you. They allow me to enjoy 60-80 short track races per year. Your idea of racing might be full time flat out, but that is boring to me. I like drivers sawing the steering wheel and constantly working the brake and throttle. You have your opinion and I have mine. Neither is wrong.

Again, you have failed to persuade me (or anyone else willing to post) with your arguments. Ignoring facts and twisting statistics to fit a certain mindset is lame. Are you by chance a politician?

Anonymous said...

nh_nascarfan,

Thanks for the insight. I think you were right about the Earnhardt issue, it usually does take a tragic death to spur changes. I can see now where NASCAR is trying to take the COT. The series I run in saw a similar situation in the not so distant past, and the lower budget teams were eventually toppled by the mega-programs. That is the one thing that worries m about the NASCAR situation. Smaller teams may not be able to survive to see it through to fruition. By the way, is it commonplace here for some to spew vitriolic, uninformed BS, instead of rationally engaging in an open discourse that could possibly allow two differing sides to come together in a friendly way? Thanks for your quick response, I appreciate it.

Monkeesfan said...

David, the COT is not part of the equation, "whether you like it or not," to coin a phrase. It's just a poorly designed car/Truck hybrid hyped as safer when it has never proven to be such. Dean Sicking does good work, but there's always more to it than just what he's saying.

Yes, drivers die in short track wrecks, but they're above 70 MPH nowadays. Yes, slowing the cars down is not foolproof. But it IS more effective a safety tool in that it attacks a core problem. To think that slowing them down to 170 or less at Texas won't have at least some positive effect as far as safety goes is absurd.

Anonymous #54, open throttle is what racing is supposed to be - it's what all racers seek because the best handling package is always when you can run open throttle. I go to plenty of short track races a year myself - over 200 in ten years at Stafford, CT, for one.

And who is twisting what here? The one citing junk science (i.e. Mark) or the one citing actual events in history? If you don't see the difference, then you've got problems beyond mere perceptive skills.


The bottom line remains - there is no case for the COT; it is time to destroy it.

Anonymous said...

Monkee, you must believe that if you repeat something enough times it becomes true. Your examples are incomplete at best and quite frequently inaccurate. Basic internet research debunks just about everything you type on here and other blogs. Everything else is just an opinion.

Do not fool yourself that all drivers seek to bolt the throttle to the floorboard and merely turn the steering wheel.....driving a racecar involves using three sets of inputs not just one.

You claim to want to slow the cars down in one breath and then tell us you want every racecar to run WFO and let the chassis engineers be the difference? I honestly do not see how that would be interesting to watch.

Monkeesfan said...

Anonymous, it is a case of telling the truth. As you have not been able to refute the examples I've cited, your criticism carries no credibility, so saying they are incomplete or inacccurate is itself inaccurate.

Drivers always seek to be able to run open throttle - because that is the ultimate handling equation; when you can run wide open, you've got the car handling perfectly. Getting there is the issue.

I want the cars to be able to run open throttle safely. Under no circumstances do I want anything to impede he drivers ability to go to the front; there must never be any impediment to passing brought on by handling issues or track conditions. The only issue should be how determined drivers are to take the lead.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it is a matter of telling the truth. You are still subscribing to the theory that if you type something enough times it must be true. We'll go slower and one at a time so you can comprehend things better.

Dave Marcis was injured in his 1999 Pocono wreck despite the fact that you saw him walking around shortly after the accident. In his own words he suffered deep bruises and a concussion.

Next?

Monkeesfan said...

Anonymous - whatever his injuries were they weren't close to enough to keep him out of the car (he put a road race stringer in for Sears Point the next week).

As far as comprehension goes there is nothing wrong with my comprehension skills. I type waht is true, not to repeat something multiple times.

"Next," my foot.

Anonymous said...

The point is that Dave was shaken up. A concussion no matter how minor is serious. It is an injury that the COT (and various other innovations) strives to...and so far has suceeded 100%....to eliminate.

Please re-post another of your safety related reasons to hate the COT and I will debunk that as well.

Next.

Anonymous said...

I believe that it was Jesus Christ who saved him that wreak.

Smoot Racing
$5-Andrew Smoot

nh_nascarfan said...

Monkeesfan, you are a fool. You cite nothing but your opinions and never back them up with fact. Citing the history of a car that no longer exists and links to bloggers that sip the same kool aid as you do does nothing to help your argument.

You call the laws of physics 'junk science'? Please. Its no wonder you are the laughing stock of every blog you post on.

Anonymous is correct in hisevaluation of you - that if you repeat it enough, people will eventually believe you. Kind of reminds me of a democrat.

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

Monkeesfan said...

nh nascarfan, all I do is tell the truth. Look in the mirror for a fool. You obviously did not read the link because the pieces within show you where your arguments fall apart. That makes you a fraud because your "facts" are not facts, just verbiage.

Anonymous - the point is drivers are shaken up and have suffered concussions with this new car, too. Where's the improvement?

You haven't refuted anything, anonymous.


The time has come to abort the COT and go back to the old car. Period, end of discussion.

Anonymous said...

monkee, you do NOT tell the truth. The Marcis wreck and your comment about Schrader on Amazon.com are but two examples. You have such a hard time getting facts straight that who can give any thought to your goofy opinions. (lead changes are all that matter? holding the throttle wide open 100% of the time makes for the most entertaining racing?

Please tell me what driver has been shaken up and suffered a concusion in a COT. I challenge you to put up or shut up. It can certainly happen, but the odds are much lower now and it has NOT happened yet.

The time has come for you to admit that you are wrong.

Anonymous said...

"The real shame is that Earnhardt would still be alive today if Nascar had done ANYTHING after Adam Petty, Tony Roper and Kenny Irwin were all killed in 2000. That's the real shame of this story"

It is about time that someone mentioned all the other who died before Earnhardt. It was Dale’s own arrogance that caused his death. When the equipment is there for you to use and you choose not to ....that is your own fault and I do not feel bad for you.

Stupidity and arrogance should not be memorialized.

nh_nascarfan said...

Dale Sr may not have used the equipment that was available, but most experts agree that what he really needed to that day was the HANS device, as he suffered a severe basilar skull fracture upon impact with the wall and died instantly. Sadly, it took driver deaths from basilar skull fractures in virtually every series before the respective sanctioning body required the HANS device. Dale Sr may have chosen not to use the device, but he alone cannot be the only one blamed for showing poor judgment.

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

” Dale Sr may have chosen not to use the device, but he alone cannot be the only one blamed for showing poor judgment. “


So what you are saying is that you also subscribe to the modern philosophy that you should not have to be held accountable for you own actions right or wrong. That seems to be the attitude and problem with today’s society. If you are a grown adult it is not up to others to have to hold you hand and think common sence for you. That is what you have to do for children. Unless that is what you are saying the mentality of drivers is and that NASCAR needs to hold their hands and think common sense for them like little children.

nh_nascarfan said...

That's not what I said at all. Dale Sr (and other drivers) made bad decisions when it came to his own personal safety, and it cost him his life. It took that tragedy for NASCAR - meaning NASCAR itself and all those involved with them, including drivers and teams - to take safety more seriously. I do believe, however, that NASCAR, as the sanctioning body, needs to set minimum safety standards for their sport. In the past, those standards were low; the death of Dale Sr raised those standards significantly and the outcome is what we saw happen at Texas... a crash that in years past may have killed a driver turned out to be nothing more than a lot of 'imagine if that were 5 years ago' conversation.

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/