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NASCAR to Talk Safety with Crew Members Who Ran to Austin Dillon's Aid

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marina's picture
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July 8, 2015
NASCAR to Talk Safety with Crew Members Who Ran to Austin Dillon's Aid

Motorsport.com's recent article, "NASCAR Wants to Talk with Crew Members Who Ran to Dillon's Aid" considers the potential safety implications of the crew members' heroism as they ran to check on Austin Dillon after his terrifying crash at the Coke Zero 400. NASCAR will not penalize anyone for their actions, but instead wants to discuss safety.

Take a look at some quotes made by NASCAR Executive VP and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell below, and please let us know your own thoughts on the matter.

"We just want to have a conversation with those folks. We applaud everybody who wants to run to a scene and try to help out. That’s something that I think that is really cool about our industry in terms of people caring about their fellow athletes. We just want to talk about the safety aspect of it.

"We have to dispatch our safety equipment, those folks are experts and need to be able to get to Austin as quickly as possible. Any second that we can’t do that because the car may be surrounded can be a challenge. That’s just a conversation we want to have.

"We applaud the fact that they care, but you know, it would be in the interest for us going forward that we respond to the driver in the most correct way possible.”

See the article on Motorsport.com here.

TheDonald927's picture
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July 8, 2015

I was overly concerned when those closest to him, at the scene, wanted to or aid him in extracating himself from the car.
His body had just experienced serious G-loads from 195 to 0 mph. in an instant, and though hanging upside down in his belts conscious and alert, he, and those crew members felt the need to get him out, without any thought of a hidden injury before any medical personnel reached him.
Sorry, Not comfortable with that.

danentner's picture
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July 8, 2015

While I understand why the pit crew members ran onto the track it does not make the situation right. The race track was still "HOT" and the pit crew was only thinking about helping thier Brother! Under stanable, BUT just as Lee Watson had stated in his Face Book post the other day, while the crew may of had good intentions it put aq lot of other people in DANGER! I agree with Lee in that if there were a "pit offiical" in that pit box at the time of the wreck the situation may of been different. Thank God, and the great driving abilities of the drivers still on track that no one was injured. Now I am not saying the following statement about all drivers, But some of them look at track safety personal as the guys that just get in the way, And those guys (track safety personal) are just here to watch a free race. While that may be true about a few people who work track safety it is not true about the majority. I as well as 99% of the great, very well trained, and dedicated personal I know take track safety very serious and spend alot of time training and practicing our skill set for the times we are needed. A culture has evolved in the racing community that track safety people have no clue about racing or what it involves. That is wrong! Most of us out there are very well in tune to what it takes to race on Sunday or any other day. What most of these crews need to under stand is we are there for "THEM" and to make race day as safe as it can be. I have been yelled at by teams for the way I hooked up a car, or for cutting a HANS device or cutting a window out of a car, Told to go away i dont know what I am doing, Or here is a good one, "I am not hurt" I hit the wall doing 200mph and have no idea where i am right now so leave me alone! Well I cant! I have a duty to respond and do what it takes to make it safe for not only you, but everyone around you and your FAMILY!  I kind of got off track here with a rant but I feel not just NASCAR, but all racing sanctions need to change this culture and tell the drivers and crews that words from track safety personal need to be looked at as the word of GOD and obey! We are not there to ruin your day or your car, We are there for YOU! While Having more pit road officials may have stopped the crew members from running onto the track, the pit road firefighter should have the authority to tell them to stay back and if they did not heed the firefighter words STIFF penilities should be imposed.

It is time for the teams to respect the track safety personal and time for the santioning bodies to give them the authority to make pit road and the track safe.

BigTopp's picture
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July 8, 2015

Question is where were the NASCAR pit lane officials who, per NASCAR, controls the lane? Where were they? Use to be the rule that pit fire wasn't allowed over the wall without invite from them. Heard that that has changed. Did not see a fire bottle at the scene until first truck arrived. NASCAR still needs training. Did that qualify as too many crewmembers over the wall?

Danny White's picture
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July 30, 2015

This is actually a very serious issue. First, interfering with a Firefighter in the line of duty is a criminal offense in Indiana and many other States (not obeying the order to stay back is in fact interfering). By running onto the track the crew increased the risk to themselves and others many times over. Yes, we need to continue to improve track safety workers skills but drivers must understand this is the first folks to them. If they are not satisfied with their qualifications, talk to the track owner and promoter and try a bit of a proactive approach. See how you can fund more training for these crews and work with them by donating old or non- repairable cars for them to practice with. Bottom line, exteme fines or long suspension are needed as this is a zero tolerance issue in my professional opinion. Unsafe behaviour by anyone at the track should never be tolerated.

BigTopp's picture
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July 8, 2015

After NASCAR mandated helmets and full fire protective clothing, including hood socks, why do I see pit reporters in street clothes when they use to wear circuits as well as pit fire personnel with no hood socks in their position during fuel stops? Makes for confusing appearance on t.v. much less stressing safety.

BigTopp's picture
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July 8, 2015

Should read firesuits. Sorry.

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