Keith Wyss went into Racing Safety secondary to his career in the Emergency Medical Service (EMS), including duties as a Paramedic, Supervisor, Supply and Equipment Sales Representative, and service as a Volunteer Firefighter, EMT and EMS Coordinator. His medical experience focuses on Motorsports Medicine.
Keith maintains a NASCAR Track Services credential and has worked with Professional Track Services (PTS), the Eldora Speedway Safety Team, the ARCA Racing Series Safety Team and other groups on occasion. He has also provided coverage at drag strips, short tracks, dirt and paved ovals, road courses and superspeedways.
His duties have included writing service proposals, writing rules and procedures concerning vehicle/protective equipment safety-related specs, vehicle inspection for safety and technical purposes, provision and oversight of fire suppression, emergency medicine service, extrication, cleanup/restoration services, and post-incident debrief/evaluation. He has also designed and built modular fire suppression systems, primarily for use at racing facilities, and is working on designs for several new products.
Keith is currently Safety Director at ARCA Truck Series and lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He has four children, all graduates of Purdue University, and 2 grandchildren.
5 QUESTIONS WITH AN AMBASSADOR
1) What do you consider to be the single greatest advancement in motorsport safety in the last 50 years?
The change in attitude concerning safety is the greatest advancement in motorsports safety. Seeing the change from safety being a subject for wimps to being a mainstream subject for the best and the bravest is gratifying. In terms of hardware, it would be tough to choose between head/neck restraints, full containment seats, and fuel cells as the single greatest advancement.
2) You can either implement one new motorsport rule or get rid of an existing one. Which option do you choose and what rule would it be?
The rule that should be implemented universally is the mandatory use of head/neck restraints and full containment seats. This rule is not new - the "across the board" application would be. If your speed exceeds 40 mph, you need this device - period! The full containment seats work in conjunction with the head/neck restraints to reduce morbidity and mortality in racing incidents.
3) What is your favorite racing circuit and why?
My favorite circuit overall would have to be the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It has such a rich history... I served there early in my career on the Medical Team, and it's only about 2 hours from my home. Eldora Speedway would have to be very high on this list. I spent several years working with the Safety Team there. The racing on this legendary 1/2 mile dirt track literally keeps you on your toes all the time! Two other tracks deserving mention in this category are Jennerstown Speedway in SW Pennsylvania and Lake County Speedway in NE Ohio. J-town is a 1/2 mile paved track. It's wide, it's smooth, and it's very racy. Lake County is a 1/5 mile track. All the banking of a Walmart parking lot, and racy as can be! And yes, when our trucks race there, someone always goes home angry! All of the tracks I mentioned also have exceptional safety programs. I'm proud to work with them.
4) Who is your hero?
The word "hero" is not one I use often. I do have people I hold in high respect. Mel Kenyon is a driver I've had the honor to know for many years. No one drove a Midget like Kenyon. He survived terrible burns from an IndyCar crash many years ago and has served as a Christian example to all who come in contact with him. A gentleman who deserves mention in this discussion is Dewayne Dimit. His impact on racing safety over the years is huge. The company he and his friends started years ago, Professional Track Services, was one of the first "professional" racing safety groups. They worked drag races, short tracks, superspeedways, and road courses. Their equipment, staffing, and procedures have been imitated by many other organizations. He was my mentor in the early days, and I still have the honor of working with him today.
5) What do you hope to accomplish as an MSF Ambassador?
My mission as an MSF Ambassador is to increase awareness of state-of-the-art racing safety in the minds of everyone in motorsports - from drivers to safety teams to sanctioning bodies to fans to the media.