The Future Of Crowd Safety in NASCAR-what are your ideas to help your sport?
My idea-a third layer of crowd protection.
The parachute catch fence.
At the end of yesterdays nationwide series race,a multicar accident that caused a perforation in the catch fencing occurred and car debris sprayed into the crowd,injuring 28 spectators.
Alot has been said about how this could have been prevented.
But there are limits to how much protection you can provide to a crowd of spectators before the experience becomes so removed from the actual race that fans no longer want to pay to come to the races.
We cannot look at this accident as a total failure.
The catch fencing did a great job of stopping a three thousand pound race car going almost two hundred miles per hour from getting into the stands.
As a first and second stage barrier-the first being the taut mesh and the second being the heavy gauge wire that reinforces that mesh,that fence did a great job of keeping a heck of alot more people from being injured.
So what went wrong?
Well,from what I can see-there is simply a layer of attenuation missing- there has to be the ability of something extra to stop what the first and second layers of fencing has already slowed down-to stop that slowed down debris from reaching the spectators.
What I propose here is not something revolutionary-but something evolutionary.
What if a third stage of protection was added that was not rigidly mounted on the racing fan side of the fences that is already there?
Furthermore,what if that third stage of wire fencing was as heavy or heavier then the initial mesh fencing.
And what if this third layer was not tight but -oversize- so that anything that got past that first taut layer would go into it-the extra capacity of this fencing would then billow out towards the crowd but not reaching it to give that debris the time to expend it's velocity energy into this baggy style fencing and then that third layer would not have to deal with the extreme energy levels that the first and second layers have already sacrificed themselves to slow down.
Think of this new last layer of fencing closest the crowd like a loosely draped over parachute.
Always ready to catch whatever the first and second layers of catch fence used themselves up to try to slow down.
The velocity of the parts that left the car that penetrated the fence were no where near what they were when that car originally hit that fence.
The issue is that once the fence was breached -there simply was no third layer of catch fence left to catch those parts.
This parachute catch fence that could be added without breaking the bank of every track in America-could be added by simply attaching this added layer of fencing which I would submit should be at least twice the size in height to the fence that is already installed if not three times the height.
Then this extra height of loose style catch fence mesh material would always be availible to stop these parts from hitting spectators.
This third layer of parachute fencing need only be attached at the bottom and the top of it's mounting height to the already existing fence posts with perhaps some long reinforcement wires at it's farthest expension of travel to act as a failsafe if the parts were of the size or greater then we saw yesterday.
Now there is a caveat about this type of loosely mounted fencing idea and that is that during the races-no one could be in the area where that catch fencing would expand into.
Not even security personnel.
I don't want the cars slowed down,I don't want the way that NASCAR has been improving the racing to change either but like all of you,I don't want to see fans injured or our sport to find itself renedered unraceable by numerous incidents of fan injury.
We all have a stake in stopping these incidents no matter how rare-if we don't step up and find a solution,the insurance liability companies will and none of us will like the results.
So if you have some ideas you want to send to NASCAR,here's your thread.
Let's help out sport find a way to make the races safer while still keeping them the races we love to watch and cheer our favorite teams and drivers on for.
My idea is for nastycar to stop pretending they are a racing series and admit they are a newer mma or wwe type of sport. Yesterdays crash just shows how they are missing the boat. They could engineer the racing by requiring the use of the restrictor plate at every race and making the green white checker mandatory at 2 laps to go. New fans will show up in droves. Wrecking in the crowd is now racin' and that could be a bonus feature. The fans can place bets on how far up the stands the debris will go. nastycar seems to not care for the fans safety so why should we? This could be huuuuuge!