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Racing with a Disability?


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Hey everyone

 

I've been eyeing Champ (Chump?) car for years as I've tried to fulfill my car racing needs with autocross and the occasional open track day, but I think it's finally time to take the endurance racing plunge. I recently came to own a free 84 305 Camaro from a family member. I searched the forums and couldn't find any specific info pertaining to my exact situation. I wanted to get some insight and thoughts from fellow racers first before I email the champ board on anything I might want to say.

 

Getting to the point here, 32 years ago I was born a healthy baby boy with the exception that my left arm ends a few inches below my elbow! No explanation, my mom didn't drink or do drugs, I just came out that way. My parents raised me as If I was anybody else which helped me to learn to adapt, and it hasn't stopped me from achieving my dreams of becoming a civil engineer and architect. I'm also an accomplished welder and have been known to rebuild a pretty mean small block!

 

Long story short, I'm concerned that I may get some pushback from any safety people on being able to properly drive a car. The Camaro in question is an auto and I plan to keep it that way although I do have a stick shift pickup I can drive without issue. I have encountered many doubters over the years, which is understandable and I don't take offense to concerns over safety. I'm obviously different than most race car drivers but feel I can drive and exit a vehicle in an emergency just as safe as a two handed person. I would be happy to meet with any of the safety people to show them if needed. And obviously I can type on a computer just fine haha.

 

Basically whether it be the rim on the steering wheel, a wrench or a TIG welding rod, I just hold things on my left by pinching them in the "crack" of my elbow. I could probably have my wife take a picture of this tonight if anyone was curious lol.

Nothings as good as a real hand of course, but it works. I don't where a prosthetic because I feel I'm just better without one. To me, wearing prosthetic arm or growing one back would be as foreign as you gaining a third arm! This is the way it's always been for me!

 

Sorry for the long message but any thoughts or insight on how to approach the management board at champ would be greatly appreciated! I'm an easy going guy, you wont offend me with your opinions or if you think certain aspects of this won't work. I would likely leave refueling duties up to my team mates as well as putting on the hans device etc.

 

Thanks

Ed

 

 

 

 

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Do it.  

 

There are no rules against it.  There are no rules that say you need 2 hands on the wheel at all times.

 

I see absolutely no reason you couldnt race.

 

I may think extra hard about the following few items:

 

Kill switch location

control panel for switches

fire bottle pulls

steering quick release type (some kinda require 2 hands).

 

Other than that, DO EET.

 

Oh, and welcome!

 

Where do you call home?  I am sure there are a few teams near you that could talk you through the rules and what might be an extra challenge. 

 

 

EDIT: Email Mike Chisek (head Champcar guy) if you are concerned.  Or Phil McKinney - Head tech guy.

Chief Executive Officer – Mike Chisek – Michael.Chisek@champcar.org
Chief Technical Director – Phil McKinney – Phil.McKinney@champcar.org

 

Edited by wvumtnbkr
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Mike Chisek, CEO of ChampCar is getting ready to leave for the Thunderhill race in California but passed this onto me to post up.

------

 

Our concern is not driver appearance, it is driver safety.  All drivers must possess a valid state drivers license and wear the appropriate driver safety gear.  The only other item we require of drivers is that they can get out of a race car on their own.  Should there be an accident or worse yet a car fire, help may not arrive fast enough to get a driver out.  For this reason, all drivers must be able to remove themselves from a car in a rapid fashion.  When in doubt, we may ask for a driver to show us their exit method and time.  This has come up in the past for larger and/or older drivers.  All have been able to prove themselves to us.  If an official asks this of someone, they should not take offense.  We would much rather fail you for not being able to get out of a car than have to tell your family that you died because you couldn't get out of your car fast enough!

Your left arm sounds more like a difference and not a handicap.  So long as your driver safety gear can keep your left arm protected and you can get out of your car quickly (under 10 seconds), you are welcome to join us on track.
Mike Chisek

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Well, there ya go.

 

Welcome.

 

Now get that F body built!

 

You MAY be better off claiming a different year for your car as in 1984, it would have had a carb on the 305.  If you are running fuel injection, you might want to call it an 88.

 

The base starting value is 200 pts.  You get to subtract 75 points for running the automatic.  Therefore, your starting value is 125 pts.  The 15.5 gallon tank is gonna be a bit of an issue I imagine.  You can throw in a 17.5 gallon fuel cell to try to make the 2 hours....

 

That is alot of points left over to play with!

Edited by wvumtnbkr
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FastEdy hello and welcome . I have a friend that has been in a wheel chair 25+ years he raced karts with hand controls for years and pretty good at it too . There are many an able body person that should never get on a racetrack . We are all human and have faults and shortcomings even if we have all the parts . One of my racing heroes used to wheel with one hand ,wyle resting the other on the cage , and smoking a cigar some can do more with less . 

 In my opinion the only requirement you need to be able to do is unbuckle , put the window net down and get out of the car quickly . As far as driving skills if you have autocrossed and driven traffic for years bring it on brother

 

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10 minutes ago, wvumtnbkr said:

I may think extra hard about the following few items:

 

Kill switch location

control panel for switches

fire bottle pulls

steering quick release type (some kinda require 2 hands).

 

 

Add window net to this list too. There is likely an easy solution that could be done with your left arm. Would be lots going on with your right hand if you needed to pull fire supp, kill switch, belts and window net. Though, definitely doable. 

 

Go for it! Welcome!

 

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Wow thanks for all the warm welcome and responses! Looking forward to racing in this series more already

Thanks to Mike as well for your email pass along. You described it the exact way I feel about myself, my arm is different but not a handicap.

If at anytime champ car safety didn't think it was safe for me I would certainly abide without question! My wife and 2 year old daughter don't need me stuck in a car because of a fire or such. But I really feel it won't be an issue with careful planning of items like you guys discussed.

I have sat in a couple fully caged and harnessed cars before at an SCCA event to test out what works and doesn't and I need to do more research. ( I actually will be moving to the motor city (royal oak) in a few months so I would absolutely be open to meeting with anyone willing to let me pick their brain and build knowldege experience! ) One car had a cheap harness and it was wayyy too hard for me to undo. The other 2 cars had a twist lock harness that although it was kinda tough for me to buckle in, undoing it to get out was super easy! That same car had a nifty ball bearing locking style steering wheel that worked well with one hand albeit it was expensive.

I would most likely just put anything controls wise on the right side of the dash as possible, although that may not be doable with the cutoff switch, I think reaching over wouldn't be a big deal.

I don't have any expereince with window nets so I'll have to do some digging there too.

Thanks fo the tip on claiming an 88, and I forgot about The 75 points deduction rule for an auto as that would allow alot! The camaro does have a leaking quadrajet on it right now. I really like the vortec heads so that was a cheap route I was thinking of going along with a TBI setup and an adaptor manifold.

The biggest thing I need to figure out is my coat and gloves. My wife thought of just sewing up the left sleeve where my arm ends but I think that would really make an already limited elbow movement that I use to grip the steering wheel worse. I also though about maybe just wearing a nomex tube sock over my nub but I don't know how fire proof that would be versus a set of gloves. Any thoughts lol?




 

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2 hours ago, FastEdy223 said:

Hey everyone

 

I've been eyeing Champ (Chump?) car for years as I've tried to fulfill my car racing needs with autocross and the occasional open track day, but I think it's finally time to take the endurance racing plunge. I recently came to own a free 84 305 Camaro from a family member. I searched the forums and couldn't find any specific info pertaining to my exact situation. I wanted to get some insight and thoughts from fellow racers first before I email the champ board on anything I might want to say.

 

Getting to the point here, 32 years ago I was born a healthy baby boy with the exception that my left arm ends a few inches below my elbow! No explanation, my mom didn't drink or do drugs, I just came out that way. My parents raised me as If I was anybody else which helped me to learn to adapt, and it hasn't stopped me from achieving my dreams of becoming a civil engineer and architect. I'm also an accomplished welder and have been known to rebuild a pretty mean small block!

 

Long story short, I'm concerned that I may get some pushback from any safety people on being able to properly drive a car. The Camaro in question is an auto and I plan to keep it that way although I do have a stick shift pickup I can drive without issue. I have encountered many doubters over the years, which is understandable and I don't take offense to concerns over safety. I'm obviously different than most race car drivers but feel I can drive and exit a vehicle in an emergency just as safe as a two handed person. I would be happy to meet with any of the safety people to show them if needed. And obviously I can type on a computer just fine haha.

 

Basically whether it be the rim on the steering wheel, a wrench or a TIG welding rod, I just hold things on my left by pinching them in the "crack" of my elbow. I could probably have my wife take a picture of this tonight if anyone was curious lol.

Nothings as good as a real hand of course, but it works. I don't where a prosthetic because I feel I'm just better without one. To me, wearing prosthetic arm or growing one back would be as foreign as you gaining a third arm! This is the way it's always been for me!

 

Sorry for the long message but any thoughts or insight on how to approach the management board at champ would be greatly appreciated! I'm an easy going guy, you wont offend me with your opinions or if you think certain aspects of this won't work. I would likely leave refueling duties up to my team mates as well as putting on the hans device etc.

 

Thanks

Ed

 

 

 

 

I can't think of a reason you cannot.. and a DOM-OH-NATING car choice. We run a 84 Trans Am with the mighty 305. image.thumb.jpeg.62606e7aa404075c0a643fe26490366c.jpeg

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1 hour ago, wvumtnbkr said:

Well, there ya go.

 

Welcome.

 

Now get that F body built!

 

You MAY be better off claiming a different year for your car as in 1984, it would have had a carb on the 305.  If you are running fuel injection, you might want to call it an 88.

 

The base starting value is 200 pts.  You get to subtract 75 points for running the automatic.  Therefore, your starting value is 125 pts.  The 15.5 gallon tank is gonna be a bit of an issue I imagine.  You can throw in a 17.5 gallon fuel cell to try to make the 2 hours....

 

That is alot of points left over to play with!

if you want a few pointers message me.... we still run the factory quadrobog

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6 minutes ago, Team Infiniti said:

 You could probably make something using nomex thread and your spare glove or contact the manufacturer and have a custom one made.

 

https://www.pegasusautoracing.com/productselection.asp?Product=2131

 

This is where I buy nomex thread. 

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Take a little time to study the points values and options for drivetrain. The 3rd gen F-body covered 10 years, a conversion from carb to FI, etc, but the guts are similar enough that you could run it as widely different configurations without running into issues with the rules.  As other stated, ANY factory V8 Firebird starts with 200pts -75 auto=125pts.

 

This means you can convert from that 190hp '84 305 Quadrajet to a 245hp L98 '92 350 TPI. There is a 0 points upgrade for you. Just make sure you run teh appropriate rear and for the engine or you will take a points hit for a swap. I didn't find it hard to get the car just under 3k#. Use your points on durability first (cooling, more durable part substitutes, etc) and then work on handling.  A well built firebird can be formidable. With 17.5 gallons and a surge tank, you can get close to 2 hours on some tracks. Fuel can be the limiting factor for this car. 

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Woo! Someone else in the Motor City!

 

There's a track day group up here called 3 Balls Racing with a lot of members in the Detroit area. Plenty of caged vehicles (some Champ, some not) that I'm sure the owners would let you climb in/out of and a variety of harnesses , steering wheels and the like to see/try out. 

 

Don't forget- there's nothing that says you can't have more than 1 disconnect or more than 1 fire pull. I've seen numerous cars (including ours) that have a set of pulls/switches outside and a 2nd set inside. You can also configure most fire systems, disconnects and window net releases as a Push instead of a Pull (most teams prefer pull because it's less likely to be triggered by accident).

 

https://www.jegs.com/i/Longacre-Racing/441/45749/10002/-1

 

https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS-Performance-Products/555/10373/10002/-1

 

With the second one, could put the physical switch down in the foot well, have the handle on the side of the tunnel, near where a shifter or a handbrake would be, and add a peg somewhere along the length so you could power cycle the car with your foot?

 

image.thumb.png.8216bcf9f56478eb9bd373438c8a4d5f.png

 

Borrowed picture but similar to what we have in one of our cars. There's a red button on one side and a strap on the other side, so one side is push other side is pull. 

 

https://www.safecraftracing.com/safecraft-products/racing-net-8111-k/

 

Welcome and hope to see you at a race soon!

Edited by Wittenauer Racing
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25 minutes ago, Wittenauer Racing said:

Woo! Someone else in the Motor City!

 

There's a track day group up here called 3 Balls Racing with a lot of members in the Detroit area. Plenty of caged vehicles (some Champ, some not) that I'm sure the owners would let you climb in/out of and a variety of harnesses , steering wheels and the like to see/try out. 

 

Don't forget- there's nothing that says you can't have more than 1 disconnect or more than 1 fire pull. I've seen numerous cars (including ours) that have a set of pulls/switches outside and a 2nd set inside. You can also configure most fire systems, disconnects and window net releases as a Push instead of a Pull (most teams prefer pull because it's less likely to be triggered by accident).

 

https://www.jegs.com/i/Longacre-Racing/441/45749/10002/-1

 

https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS-Performance-Products/555/10373/10002/-1

 

With the second one, could put the physical switch down in the foot well, have the handle on the side of the tunnel, near where a shifter or a handbrake would be, and add a peg somewhere along the length so you could power cycle the car with your foot?

 

image.thumb.png.8216bcf9f56478eb9bd373438c8a4d5f.png

 

Borrowed picture but similar to what we have in one of our cars. There's a red button on one side and a strap on the other side, so one side is push other side is pull. 

 

https://www.safecraftracing.com/safecraft-products/racing-net-8111-k/

 

Welcome and hope to see you at a race soon!

 

Thanks and looking forward to racing!

 

Another buddy of mine told me about 3 balls and that they are cool guys. Looking forward to moving, besides the winters and bad roads. And what's with the dirt roads? Hahaha. We saw a Bentley covered in mud coming from a mansion size house in a dirt road. Crazy

 

Great ideas on the net and switches as I was just going to ask about multiple switches. They couple other guys I'm in talks with as Team mates are all pretty similar in size and weight to me, so that should help eliminate some issues for seat placement and such. I just need to make sure anything I do wouldn't make it more of a pain in the rear for them to drive. They are already making a big compromise to let me keep the auto trans, I can't peeve them off too much ; )

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15 minutes ago, FastEdy223 said:

 

Thanks and looking forward to racing!

 

Another buddy of mine told me about 3 balls and that they are cool guys. Looking forward to moving, besides the winters and bad roads. And what's with the dirt roads? Hahaha. We saw a Bentley covered in mud coming from a mansion size house in a dirt road. Crazy

 

Great ideas on the net and switches as I was just going to ask about multiple switches. They couple other guys I'm in talks with as Team mates are all pretty similar in size and weight to me, so that should help eliminate some issues for seat placement and such. I just need to make sure anything I do wouldn't make it more of a pain in the rear for them to drive. They are already making a big compromise to let me keep the auto trans, I can't peeve them off too much ; )

 

One thing to think about that we learned the hard way- Just cause people are similar build and height doesnt mean their "in car" dimensions will be similar! Learned this the hard way on our car. We have one driver who is like 6'4" and another around 5'10, turns out both of their torso's are about the same length! So our shortest guy has almost as bad of issues with helmet/rollbar space as our tallest....

 

I'm not originally from up this way, so no clue on why the dirt roads, but what I do know is they can come out of nowhere! There's a few smack in the middle of town out by me, miles from any "rural area". Some of the paved 'roads' make the dirt look like the way to go though :lol:

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1 hour ago, Wittenauer Racing said:

One thing to think about that we learned the hard way- Just cause people are similar build and height doesnt mean their "in car" dimensions will be similar! Learned this the hard way on our car. We have one driver who is like 6'4" and another around 5'10, turns out both of their torso's are about the same length! So our shortest guy has almost as bad of issues with helmet/rollbar space as our tallest....

 

We have a short guy with long arms and a tall guy with short arms.  Pretty much the only one that is comfortable in the car is me, but that is only because I own the car so I make it as I damn well please!

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2 hours ago, JBgotM said:

Take a little time to study the points values and options for drivetrain. The 3rd gen F-body covered 10 years, a conversion from carb to FI, etc, but the guts are similar enough that you could run it as widely different configurations without running into issues with the rules.  As other stated, ANY factory V8 Firebird starts with 200pts -75 auto=125pts.

 

This means you can convert from that 190hp '84 305 Quadrajet to a 245hp L98 '92 350 TPI. There is a 0 points upgrade for you. Just make sure you run teh appropriate rear and for the engine or you will take a points hit for a swap. I didn't find it hard to get the car just under 3k#. Use your points on durability first (cooling, more durable part substitutes, etc) and then work on handling.  A well built firebird can be formidable. With 17.5 gallons and a surge tank, you can get close to 2 hours on some tracks. Fuel can be the limiting factor for this car. 

The factory TPI limits your HP range. The 84 factory intake and carb can handle way more RPM. We raced our 305 with the auto (used the AC condenser for the cooler) never had any issues but it is not designed for road racing and seemed like it was always in the wrong gear. The T5 was a HUGE upgrade. I doubt our car is close to 3k w/ gas and driver. and we still have more meat to take out. I would suggest looking at bigbrakeupgrade.com for the C5/6 conversion we can drive hard as snot into the corners now. We haven't addressed the fuel issue yet, but then again we don't care about winning. the stock tank gives you 1:20-1:30 of racing. Here's our 84 (w/ 88 305)  #301 Trans Am

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We raced a turbo 250 trans for years, no problem.  Keep it cool and get a shift kit that can run in automatic if needed.  No problem...

 

Message me if you need help with tbi or the trans.

 

We ran both for years in a 78 malibu....  I'll tell you about all the free cheats....

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5 hours ago, FastEdy223 said:

One car had a cheap harness and it was wayyy too hard for me to undo. The other 2 cars had a twist lock harness that although it was kinda tough for me to buckle in, undoing it to get out was super easy! That same car had a nifty ball bearing locking style steering wheel that worked well with one hand albeit it was expensive.
 

 

Welcome.  No worries on buckling yourself in, that is what teammates are for in a pit stop once they finish fueling.  We have one teammate that can't see the buckle so we do it up for him.  For all drivers in our car, they just sit in the car while teammates pull the lap belts tight.

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37 minutes ago, Ron_e said:

 

Welcome.  No worries on buckling yourself in, that is what teammates are for in a pit stop once they finish fueling.  We have one teammate that can't see the buckle so we do it up for him.  For all drivers in our car, they just sit in the car while teammates pull the lap belts tight.

with the hans on it is almost impossible to belt yourself in... get a camlock and life will be fine

 

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Welcome Fastedy,    I applaud your grit.   I had a teammate once that was paralyzed from the waist down  when we drove in the IMSA Firehawk series.  He had zero problems and never held us back.   Go for it dude you'll be glad you did with ChampCar.    It only takes a moment to make a memory for life.

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