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Buttonwillow Race Report and Vids

Old 10-22-03, 01:10 PM
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Buttonwillow Race Report and Vids

Headed down to Buttonwillow Raceway, near Bakersfield, CA; for the Norcal-SoCal crossover event there with my Dad. I was expecting some Socal competition for the ProSedan race, but there was none to be had, just fellow NorCal PS1 driver Brad Leabo and myself in a field of about 40 cars of various other classes (Super Unlimited, Legends, Spec Racer Ford, Spec 944, Honda Challenge, etc)

Warmup Saturday, I misjudged the entry and apex of the turn they call the Buttonhook, had the brakes locked up and slid right off track. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to get off the brakes rather than ram the dirt embankment at 35mph, and the brunt of the impact was to the passenger door/front fender, along with a blown front tire. The safety guys were great, got me off the embankment and towed back in so I could evaluate my situation. We checked the car out, nothing was bent or damaged, aside from some body work and the blown tire, so we had the tire guys swap the tires with a new set. That took a while and I ended up missing qualifying and had to start at the back of the field for the race.

The race Saturday was a battle of attrition, cars were spinning off track everywhere. The start was pretty ugly, those of us in the back of the field never got a chance to get lined up. I caught the back of the field going into turn 1, and make 2 quick passes on a Spec 944 and Miata exiting the first hairpin. Brad was being harrassed by a Spec 944, and had a big moment on the backside of the course, letting the 944 through and giving me a chance to make up some ground on him. I caught him and passed him the next lap, only to end up oiled down as the 944 blew his motor in spectacular fashion in front of me. Fortunately I could see where the oil was getting laid down, and the 944 guy got offline quickly. That oil preceded several incidents at that corner, including one Legends car who stalled and couldn't get moving again, leaving the car dead center in the middle of the track. I never really got a rythmn going with all the yellow flags, and I had a lot trouble seeing out the windshield with all the dirt and oil, so I pointed Brad by me after a particularly bad exit onto the main straight. He just pulled away after we got into some traffic, and I was content with a 2nd place finish.

Sunday warmup was significantly better (no body work ), running a 2:24.7 to Brad's 2:24.2. I hooked up with a faster PS7 car and managed to chop 2 seconds off to a 2:22 in qualifying, leaving me with the PS-1 pole, 3 seconds faster than Brad.

Sunday's race was wild. Rolling start again, I had the power to pick up several positions on the start. We went three wide into turn 1! I settled down and back in line, chasing a PS-0 1st gen RX-7, setup as a circle track car running slicks, but no engine mods to speak of. I got a nice run going into Lost Hills, but he never saw me, and pinched down on me. I did my best to avoid the contact but it was over in an instant, and I hit him in the rear quaterpanel, driving both of us off track with the rest of the field streaming past. I had to wait for the dust to clear, couldn't see the track, and it finally did, to find the 6 legends cars coming into the turn fast. They motored on past me, and I started the chase. Since my race was pretty much ruined, I resolved to just motor around and pick up track time, but then I saw Brad about 3 turns ahead of us, so all was definitely not lost. I picked up the pace, and got through 2 of the legends cars. I outbraked a third going into turn 1, but didn't get back on the gas fast enough and he repassed me. Problems downshifting send me off the track, losing precious ground to both the Legends cars and Brad. Just before the white flag lap, Brad spun out going into the Buttonhook turn, and I passed him for the class lead. I buckled down, and drove to my second win for the season!

Of course, being a rookie, I then proceeded to have that race disqualified due to body contact.

Rookies are not to have any body contact what so ever, even signficant offcourse excursions (like Brad's) can get you in trouble. That's the way life goes I'm not stressed about it, I felt really bad for the guy I hit since the hit ended up blowing out his tire and ending his race He was very cool about it, we shook hands and packed up for the tow home.

As a sobering reminder that this is a very dangerous hobby that we're in, one of the ASC drivers in Saturday's race went off track in almost the exact same spot that I had my incident during the Saturday warmup, in the Buttonhook corner. The safety crew did their absolutely best to save this guy, but the word is that he suffered a basal cranial fracture (the same thing that killed Earnhart) in the accident, wasn't wearing a HANS or similar device. He died enroute to the hospital, being airlifted out. If you believe, please say a prayer for him and his family.

Of course, what you guys really wanted to see, the vids

http://para.noid.org/~silkworm/bw-101803-race.wmv
http://para.noid.org/~silkworm/bw-101903-race.wmv

Both are about 30mb each, about 13 minutes long. The first has music and the second is just engine, which is music all in it's own.

Regards,

PaulC
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Old 10-22-03, 01:19 PM
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Yeah...we heard abt the incident early this week...

I wonder if a neck brace could have helped him?

Maybe someone should make a cheaper version of the hans device...
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Old 10-22-03, 01:56 PM
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That incident definately made you take a step back and think about what you were doing this last weekend. An Isaac Device is on my very short Christmas list.
As for you Paul, looked like you were having fun out there. Wish I could have stopped by and talked a bit more but I spent all weekend helping people out or fixing my own car. (It loves to break)
-Matt
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Old 10-22-03, 02:16 PM
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I was just wondering what software you use to download your videos onto the computer and how you convert it to a .wmv file.
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Old 10-22-03, 03:14 PM
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What is that small device on your dash that lights up red?
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Old 10-22-03, 03:32 PM
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Cossie,

I, like Matt, am looking at several alternatives, one of which is the Isaac device.. It is a big wake up call for me, since I did essentially the same thing as he did, yet I survived. Doesn't get much clearer for me than that.

Hey Matt, thanks Yeah, I wanted to go watch group 4, but didn't get a chance with all the working I had to do on the car, but it was good to see a familar face

*cough*Chronos*cough*DriveFast7*cough*

Dahron,

I use Ulead Video Studio 6, with an ATI All in wonder capture card. There are other options now for vid capture, this is just what I'm using.

Mike,

It's a sequential shift light.

Regards,
PaulC
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Old 10-22-03, 09:21 PM
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what's a HANS type device...?
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Old 10-22-03, 09:49 PM
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Head And Neck Support, it keeps your head a neck stable when/if you crash, this way you won't hit your head, or snap your neck.
Sorry to hear about the car Paul, keep the videos coming dude.

Last edited by j200pruf; 10-22-03 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 10-22-03, 09:58 PM
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As a sobering reminder that this is a very dangerous hobby that we're in, one of the ASC drivers in Saturday's race went off track in almost the exact same spot that I had my incident during the Saturday warmup, in the Buttonhook corner. The safety crew did their absolutely best to save this guy, but the word is that he suffered a basal cranial fracture (the same thing that killed Earnhart) in the accident, wasn't wearing a HANS or similar device. He died enroute to the hospital, being airlifted out. If you believe, please say a prayer for him and his family.
coroner has not made an official cause of death but the trauma doctor suspected it was a ruptured coroded artery in his neck(his neck basicly extending to far and breaking the artery). A HANS device or a seat with additional head support/protection may have helped but I believe it was just the perfect situation. many people during the weekend had the same type incident without getting hurt. the car was not badly damaged from the wreck. Bill was the driver of our #44 ASC car and was very experienced. we are all still in shock, but look for another press release with info on charities and a fund for his young son.
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Old 10-23-03, 07:21 AM
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Sorry to hear about your loss, my condolances to his family and friends.
Theres also the Hutchens device and the Wright Device. Lets all be safe out there.
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Old 10-23-03, 11:53 AM
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Hi Tim,

I did hear that he was driving for the RealRide team, my condolences to his family, to you and your team.

Regards,

PaulC
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Old 10-23-03, 08:40 PM
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thanks for all the support guys. once the final coroner's report is available I may do a tech type report on seats and head supports. remember the hutchens and wright devices don't help in side impacts like this one. a seat with good head protection and a HANS device may become manditory equipment. it probably will on our team.
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Old 10-26-03, 01:06 PM
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WOHOOO!!! more vids... i have every single vid u've posted online too

haha
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Old 10-26-03, 03:03 PM
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1400 dollars is VERY CHEAP insurance on your life. It's worth every penny of my money to give my life every chance of coming out of an inccedent. When will these become mandatory for EVERY sanctioned and unsanctioned event of any kind. Seems foolish not to take all precautions. I'm currently building my car for Targa new Zealand in 06' or 07'. I plan on racing on solo1 and 2. and some autocross for a couple years first for experience.. even though I won't be flying like a pro I'll be protected like one!!! Mann....i hate when i hear sad things like this.
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