Stand 21 Safety
Foundation Reaches Diverse Audience at Long Beach
April 19, 2015
The Stand 21 Safety
Foundation held its fourth annual seminar at the Toyota Grand Prix at
Long Beach on April 18th, attracting an audience of close to
a hundred from many widely diverse types of motor racing.
Attendees came from the world of sports cars, Indy cars, drag racing,
off road racing, land speed-record setting, drifting, time attack,
midget racing and motorcycles, in the role of professional drivers,
sportsman drivers, auto manufacturers, motorsports reps and sanctioning
body personnel, all there to learn about better protection at the track.
president Yves Morizot, “Racing is a passion shared by all the
different racers in this room, and the safety principles are the
same. All of these racers want to enjoy their passion on the weekend,
and return home safe to their families on Sunday night.”
Keynote speaker NHRA
Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon began the free, half-day session,
putting motorsports safety improvements made through the years into
perspective, by comparing two very similar crashes he endured in 2000
and earlier this year. In both cases Larry’s Top Fuel nitro-powered
dragster broke in half in front of the cockpit, sending him flying over
30 feet into the air on over 400 feet distance.
In the first incident,
in Memphis, Tennessee he ended in the hospital with a broken leg and
multiple other injuries, while in the latter at Gainesville, Florida, he
walked away. He credits the use of the HANS device, improved helmet
design, better roll-cage padding, panels lining the cockpit and use of 7
point seatbelts in making the difference between then and now.
Dr. Ed Potkanowicz
informed the audience about the dangers of heat stress, while explaining
the importance of keeping hydrated, handing out reference cards to check
personal hydration levels by simply using urine color.
Reflecting the diverse
audience profile, other speakers covered safety practices in different
types of racing, and how their safety challenges can be unique.
Andrew Weyman, President of the Porsche Owners Club, described POC’s
three levels of car prep for different levels of track activity. Joe
Powell, while describing emergency response at drag races at the local
level, advised participants to be aware of the limited safety resources
at many small tracks. Martin Christensen, desert racing
innovator, described safe emergency helmet removal when medical teams
aren’t close by, with use of the Lid Lifter device. And Hector
Cademartori talked about the high standards of car safety and driver
safety equipment mandated by the organizer of the La Carrera
Panamericana road race, so important given its many remote stages.
The two major
standards-setting organizations in the US for racing equipment, the
SFI Foundation and the Snell Memorial Foundation, each had
representatives who talked about work they are doing to make racing
safer. Mike Hurst of SFI cautioned about the wearing of synthetic
garments under a driving suit. Basically, nylon/polyester materials can
melt to the skin without being on fire themselves, even thru a thick
driving suit. Ed Becker, the head of Snell, advised that the new
SA2015 and previous SA2010 helmet specs are similar, and that a helmet
meeting either one offers state of the art protection for most
Dr. Jacques Dallaire
of Prime Performance demonstrated, with audience participation
exercises, how the mind can only focus on one thing at a time, whether
driving on the track or on the street.
Drop-in guests included
Jim Michaelian, President of the Long Beach Grand Prix
Association, with his message of continued support for the
Foundation’s seminar held annually at his legendary event, and IndyCar
driver Oriol Servia who took to the stage to tell of his own
harrowing track experiences.
from attendees indicated that they walked away with at least one new
idea to apply to their own well-being at the track, which was the
mission of the seminar.
As a motorsport safety
source, the Stand 21 Safety Foundation, “Racing Goes Safer” is a
non-profit organization with a primary purpose of promoting enhanced
motorsports safety, achieving this goal in collaboration with medical
and scientific bodies, as well as with major series’ organizers in order
to bring awareness of safety issues, and solutions to the forefront of
the motorsports world.