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Bill Strong

2018 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Results

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Thank you @Jer, I appreciate the kind words.  I look forward to racing with you again too.  We had an exhaust issue about an hour in and removed it from header down pipe back.  Hindsight being 20/20, wouldn't do that again.  I would definitely add that heat shield though.  That little weight is worth the safety.

 

@Racer28173, those are good questions about the gear.  I'm happy to share what I know so we can all learn.  I've learned so much from this community so I want to give back.  I will try to leave opinion out of this as much as possible.  I just ask the forum trolls not to start debating what we "could" or "should" have done.   Please trolls, don't be a dick.

 

Here is what I know.  All of his personal safety gear, other than helmet, balaclava head/neck, was RJS Racing Equipment.....single layer suit, fire retardant underwear, socks and shoes.  Helmet was Zamp and head/neck was a Ztech.  He purchased his balaclava at the track, so I'm not sure the brand.  All equipment met the minimum standard SFI requirements outlined in BCR.

 

The helmet and balaclava did their job well and protected his head nearly 100%.  He has some burns on his face that I believe are from having the visor up.  The areas of his head covered in balaclava have ZERO burns.  His visor showed signs of fatigue, but not melt to the point I expected.  Visor down may have saved his face from burns.

 

The Ztech hans didn't really come into play.  I know from wearing it that its a bulkier than most and can be cumbersome.  Perhaps something to consider when thinking of making a quick exit.

 

I think the suit and underwear did their job, they saved his life for sure.   I only briefly got to examine is gear, but I recall 75% of it being in good shape.  But 25% of it was burned.  The parts of his body in the most intense part of the fire were affected most....right side of his back, and right arm.  Also his right thigh and left calf/ankle were burned.  Not sure why those areas though, possibly from melted roll bar padding (not SFI rated) but I am not 100%.  He said he wished he had more layers to have more time.  They likely would have provided more time.  It's a personal choice though, so not worth a debate.

 

The shoes held up great.  The area of his ankle burned was in the transition from suit to shoe, but his feet were not burned at all.

 

The gloves held up much better than I anticipated.  Both gloves were charred pretty good.  No burns to his left hand and limited burns to his right.  He started taking is glove off his right hand before the fire, and his exposed thumb was burned.  He said he wish he could do that over again as you can imagine.  But everything covered by glove was protected 100%.

 

He was not wearing a coolsuit shirt.  Honestly, I can't say if it would have been better or worse.  As bad as his back is burned, the tubes would have no doubt melted.  Gasoline burns around 1500 F, so maybe the water boils, maybe it evaporates close to immediately, I don't know.  Not worth a debate on the forum over the scientific principles I don't think.  Just decide personally if the benefits outweigh the potential negatives.

 

Thank you for the well wishes @Racer28173.  He's fighting the good fight for sure.  Thank you to all the teams that have donated to his Meal Train Fundraiser as well.  Crazy Horse Racing, Continuous Rotation Racing, Dead Pedal Racing, Baller Racing, and any others who donated anonymously....we are moved by your gesture.

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All trolling aside, I'm glad that the gear worked as it was intended.  Kudos to Travis for keeping his cool and getting out of the car quickly.  There are definitely some lessons to be learned here.  I'm building a car now and it's hard to determine what is a 'proper' fire safety system.  

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@snowman. And @Pops Jay Dee, and Pops, thank you so much for sharing some details. I can't imagine how difficult it is to deal with this situation where a loved one has been injured, especially by fire, which is downright scary and cruel. 

I hope Travis fully recovers from his injuries, and I'm thankful & hopeful that his head and face may recover fully without much evidence of the pain he's had to endure. 

Thank you for sharing the intimate details of what Travis was wearing for fire protection, the details about possible car related scenarios that may have an effect on the causes, and for your recommendations to the group to try to reduce the chances of this happening again to others. 

Mere words can't convey how sorry that I'm sure most of this community feels for your family at this time. I hate to see something like this happen to remind us all to do the best we can regarding our overall safety. Thanks once again for sharing your story, and for your love and support of Champcar in general. Best wishes to Travis for a full recovery, and to your family for strength as you endure this situation. 

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7 hours ago, Jer said:

JayDee raced my Miata at Nelson and was a great teammate and is a friend.  He told me that the tank appeared very pressurized on the previous stop-out of fuel but the cap had significant pressure behind it when removed.  That might be a smoking gun for problems to come.  Since I also have a stock setup, this is important to pay attention too for me and others in Miatas ++.   My old team the STS has had some pressure issues as well and I plan to pass along this info.

 

Make sure the charcoal canister is hooked up. We had the same issue but fixed it by putting the charcoal canister back in. There is almost no pressure when you open the cap now.

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Final word from Pops,

Thank you to all our extended racing family for your prayers and kind words about Travis, please keep them coming - he's doing better but has a long road ahead.

I think it's great that a dialogue continues about making drivers safer - let's figure out the best personal protection equipment possible. 

Regarding exhaust - I've built  and raced 4 NASCAR stock cars all with the exhaust terminating between the front and rear firewall and never a fire but if exiting the exhaust at the rear bumper would eliminate one fire - mandate the rule immediately.

It seems my suggestion from my first post regarding NASCAR spec firewalls and fuel cells either fell on deaf ears or was thought to be extreme -  it's not extreme its paramount and will save lives - OEM fuel systems were never intended for racing situations!

Thanks - hope this helps at least one person - now back to worrying about Travis.

 

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4 hours ago, Pops said:

I've built  and raced 4 NASCAR stock cars all with the exhaust terminating between the front and rear firewall and never a fire but if exiting the exhaust at the rear bumper would eliminate one fire - mandate the rule immediately.

 

The rules are close to that, more or less:

 

9.13. EXHAUST
9.13.1. A professional installed, quality exhaust system is required.
9.13.2. Exhaust systems must be designed, routed, and maintained to avoid the proximity of fuel tank(s) and/or fuel-system components and/or driver compartments.
9.13.3. Exhaust system shall not terminate in front of the main roll-cage hoop.
9.13.5. All teams must maintain their exhaust in good condition throughout the event.

 

It would be good to see the rule enhanced to require that the exhaust pipe reaches to the edge of the car, at a point behind the main roll cage hoop.

Edited by Jeff Wasilko
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On 9/4/2018 at 7:45 PM, DuncanDana said:

 

So about the camping, Bill is absolutely correct, our contract with tracks ends when the event ends. Now, some tracks will allow teams to stay on site, some will not, it's totally up to the track. Additionally, Thompson had some management changes since last year, but ultimately, it's up to them.

 

So, what does this mean for next year? I discussed things with the Operations Manager. Next year we will still have to clear the paddock area (over the bridge) after the event. But if you want to remain there Saturday night you can camp in the area alongside the oval track or in the camping area outside turn 1.

Thank you for the reply.

 

  Lots of these things were not communicated so that we can follow the rules.  So in the future if camping is allowed can you state (in the supps) which dates camping is allowed?  And not just for Thompson, for all events.  That way I can only blame myself for not reading and following the supps.  

 

I didnt know when your contract ends, immediately after race, 12midnight some other day?  But thanks for telling me, it’s just never something I’ve thought about.  I’ve only raced at WGI and since I only live 15min away we all just sleep at home.  😍

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  The suplements clearly said camping was allowed in the camping area nothing about the paddock . Did anyone look to see where the camping area was ?  Dana wrote in the supplements the camping area was a few minutes away ,its over the bridge and it is marked on the map .  

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5 hours ago, Ray Franck said:

  The suplements clearly said camping was allowed in the camping area nothing about the paddock . Did anyone look to see where the camping area was ?  Dana wrote in the supplements the camping area was a few minutes away ,its over the bridge and it is marked on the map .  

The supplemental rules (that I have downloaded) say, " Camping: Teams may use self-contained campers in their paddock spaces. Traditional camping spaces are available just inside the main gate"

 

We were asked to leave OUTSIDE the main gate Saturday evening at about 8:30. They mentioned we could camp just outside the main gate in the gravel parking area. I think a quick mention on what nights camping is or isn't allowd isn't too much to ask. Some of us are not that familiar with the details of when the contract ends, how that works with the track, or what that means etc. We learned this lessen the hard way and we know better for next time.

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You are absolutely right communication is key ,hopefully we learn something and find a better way every day .

 I don't know whether the guy closing the place down was mad or what cause it won't sunshine and lolypops for us either .

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On 9/8/2018 at 9:57 PM, Jeff Wasilko said:

 

The rules are close to that, more or less:

 

9.13. EXHAUST
9.13.1. A professional installed, quality exhaust system is required.
9.13.2. Exhaust systems must be designed, routed, and maintained to avoid the proximity of fuel tank(s) and/or fuel-system components and/or driver compartments.
9.13.3. Exhaust system shall not terminate in front of the main roll-cage hoop.
9.13.5. All teams must maintain their exhaust in good condition throughout the event.

 

It would be good to see the rule enhanced to require that the exhaust pipe reaches to the edge of the car, at a point behind the main roll cage hoop.

I think I'm adding this to the list for my car.  Right now it dumps right before the rear axle near the center of the car.  With a rotary dumping the exhaust in front of the fuel tank in any way was probably never a wise idea but it was easy to do and met the BCCR requirements.  

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if you have turndowns and are moving you should be fine.   firing straight back near the gas tank area is probably not great.

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Since we are on the topic of exhaust and gasoline, just a reminder to be careful about where you bring the exhaust out in relation to the fuel filler. A few years ago I saw a car that had a fueling inlet up high on the passenger side and the exhaust came out on that same side almost directly below it.  Recipe for disaster - I couldn't believe it passed tech.  You splash a bit of fuel swinging the jug into position and it lands on the hot exhaust pipe, fuel lights off and send flames up to the filler, the whole thing ignites (fuel going into tank and fuel in jug), you drop the 5 gallon jug instinctively, and then burn EVERYTHING including your drivers getting in and out.

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15 hours ago, Wonkothesane said:

Tell whoever updated the mealtrain info "thanks" and to keep

 

That was my wife, god bless her.  I'll pass along the message to her and my brother.   She just told me that those updates go out to every participant...I had no idea.  So we'll make sure to update any major milestones. 

 

Thank you for your generosity.  Thank you again to all the teams who donated.  We're very humbled by the outpouring of support from the community.  I really don't even know what to say.

Edited by snowman
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