PRI 2016 Show Short Track
Driver Safety Seminar
Friday, December 9, 2016
1PM-5PM Rooms 206-207
Indiana Convention Center
Hosted by the Stand 21 Racing Goes Safer Foundation, and the International Council for Motorsport Sciences (ICMS), the “Short Track Drivers Safety Seminar” gathered over 100 attendees and a stellar panel of experts, which included drivers Tony Stewart, Brian Gerster, and Kevin Swindell, as well as medical experts Dr. Terry Trammell and Dr. Steven Olvey, well known for having saved the lives of a large number of racers after violent racing accidents.
Guest speakers also included IndyCar’s tech director Jeff Horton, seat padding expert David Sharpley, Julia Daly from Boston University, Dr. Dan Marin of ICMS, as well as Stand 21’s President Yves Morizot, and Racing Goes Safer director Don Taylor.
Subjects ranged from analysis of severe impacts and crashes in Sprint Car and Midget racing, to the search for improved protection for drivers from injuries in the oddest forms of impacts.
Sprint car and Midget racing being a breed apart require different solutions for different issues. Described was a particular set of circumstances in which the rear axle of such cars can actually get torn loose and swing around enough to harm the driver. The practical, low cost solution demonstrated by Gerster and Stewart consisted of two tether straps.
Kevin Swindell, gravely injured and now confined to a wheelchair, described his particular circumstances and how this accident has changed his whole life. The Kevin Swindell crash at the 2015 Knoxville nationals was a worst case situation for a spinal injury: a very hard, flat landing from more than 10 feet in the air.
Sprint Car champion Brian Gerster and Tony Stewart presented an analysis of chassis and seating modifications to Sprint Cars to insure proper helmet clearance in case of rollover. Stewart showed a racing suit with built-in arm restraints, introduced 25 years ago by Stand 21 from an idea by driver Stevie Reeves, and now widely used. This built-in system eliminates the problem of blood circulation restrictions when using older systems.
Dr. Trammell explained the consequences of vertebrae compression and its effects when a Sprint Car lands hard after spinning and rolling, causing massive injuries to the driver, and the need to insure that all racers should wear a HANS head and neck support device besides a helmet of prime quality and certification. Jeff Horton and David Sharpley explained the differences in seat foam densities and how to best produce a protective, custom seat padding insert.
Dr. Steven Olvey covered concussion injuries, while Julia Daly demonstrated simple tests to determine a driver’s post-impact condition. Olvey also recounted several incidents where medical emergencies on short tracks were not addressed adequately, bringing up the need for making sure that not only medical personnel, but also support equipment, be present for the whole duration of each event.
Racing Goes Safer’s Philippe de Lespinay demonstrated the practicality of the Lid Lifter helmet extraction device with the help of Element Advanced Fire Protection’s Robert Calisi, a specialist in portable fire extinguishing devices for racing cars.
Yves Morizot closed the event by announcing the Foundation's next event:
Sixth Annual Long Beach Grand Prix, Driver Safety Seminar to be held in April 2017. We hope to see you there!