July 07, 2006

Jeff Krosnoff's Last Ride, 10 Years Later: The Toronto Star looks back at the death of the rookie CART driver during the city's Grand Prix. Krosnoff, remembered today with a Scholarship Fund and golf tournament, made wheel-to-wheel contact with another driver and his car went airborne into a catch fence, disintegrating when it struck a light pole. Corner worker Gary Avrin, positioned perilously close to the track, also was killed. Some question whether the racing world does enough to protect drivers from the impact of collisions with stationary objects.

posted by rcade to auto racing at 08:45 AM - 6 comments

A lot can happen in ten years to improve safety equipment, it's just sad that it usually takes fatal "accidents" to spur them. Very imformative post, well researched and well done. Darn Canadian drivers.

posted by GoBirds at 11:58 AM on July 07, 2006

Thing is, it can go to far. F1, in the wake of Senna and Ratzenberger's deaths, has, by and large, been gutted of any real excitement. I mean they still have to nail planks of wood to the underside of the cars, which was bought in as an interim measure after the crashes... Racing drivers know the risks, and racing SHOULD be dangerous. As the great Stirling Moss said, F1 is too safe now and drivers need "the fear of god shoved up them". However, I do think more should be done to protect the marshalls. Marshalls are most often unpaid fans who shoud never have to pay with their lives. As harsh as it sounds, a line has to be drawn somewhere. I don't follow Champcar or the IRL, so don't know what the racing is like (F1 and Aussie V8 supercar are my drugs), but when the danger is removed, so is a lot of the appeal. Don't want death, obviously, but it's part of racing, and all fans know that, and too much safety is very bad for the sport, because the drivers start to think they're invincible. Watch any recent F1 race and you'll see some truly idiotic driving. Driving which would have gotten the participants killed 25 years ago. I'm all for "survival cells" and HANS etc... But with F1 the way it is now, it breeds a complete lack of respect between drivers. The way M. Schumacher has driven over the years, he'd have been dead if he'd driven like that 30 years ago. (Same could be said for Montoya's recent escapades.)

posted by Drood at 01:46 PM on July 07, 2006

"Marshalls are most often unpaid fans who should never have to pay with their lives" Its not like the marshalls are randomly picked fans who are sent out to work on the corners. They are well trained members of the S.C.C.A. who spend most of their weekends during the summer working both pro and S.C.C.A. road racing events at tracks all over the U.S. and Canada. Yes there is risk involved, but the S.C.C.A. does everything that can be done to minimize the risks. Safety is the number one priority and formost concern of every S.C.C.A. member working at the races. I was watching this race and can replay that crash in my head. It was without a doubt one of the worst I have ever seen. The only thing that could have saved these two men would have been to put fenders on the cars. As soon as the tires of the two cars touched nothing was going to stop what happened.

posted by CB900 at 03:03 PM on July 07, 2006

I guess that is the biggest problem with temporary street circuits. I'm not sure there is a way to make sure the drivers are protected from everything. It's not like you can move poles and such from the streets. With open wheel cars being the most likely ones to get airborne, the risk of injury is probably greater. The corner workers are in danger all the time. There is no way they could move in time if something happened and cars came flying at them. Even on ovals, cars can go flying as well. Mario Andretti hit a piece of debris at Indy during practice and his car went straight up in the air. I'm scared that an Indy or IRL car is going to get airborne and hit the catch fence where the grandstands are. Those cars fly into a zillion pieces during impact. Lord knows how many spectators could get injured.

posted by dbt302 at 03:04 PM on July 07, 2006

I remember the Krosnoff crash very vividly. I saw it live on TV. It was truly horrific. One of those crashes where you can tell right away that the driver will not survive. I wish these never happened, but they really are a part of racing, and never will be completely eliminated. All race drivers know it can happen to them on any given day. As for better protection of the drivers, I think all open-wheel racing series have made great progress since the nineties. (rcade's "protect drivers" link is from 1999.) Of course, maybe it's just a statistical anomaly, and we'll have a bunch of serious injuries in a year or two. Progress in safety is hard to evaluate. And superovals always have been and always will be death traps. I don't know how they can build those without the concrete walls. The idea is to protect the spectators first, the drivers second.

posted by qbert72 at 11:48 AM on July 08, 2006

yes all the saftey stuff is getting out of hand..look at the nascar boys..the new safer barriers are makin the drivers very bold,knowing that puttin a guy into the wall won't kill him..i mean did you see the jeff gordon crash a couple of weeks or so ago?? 5 years ago, he would have died in that crash, yes i believe all the new measures in motorsports are makin drivers fearless and furthermore, reckless..and its a shame because sometime, sooner or later, someone will be killed..but the drivers should know that, on any given weekend ,it could be their last race..

posted by ktown at 03:07 PM on July 13, 2006

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