Learning the Hard Way
I have met your crew in the past, I’m the EF-65 hand cleaner guy. My father spent more than 40 years in stock car racing, but learned one lesson the the hard way. During his last race with all of our family and friends there to watch him retire, he was involved in a crash that burned him real bad. Just google “Spanaway Speedway fire Ken Longley.” But warning
the video is very graphic.
His helmet hook was facing in toward the driver when he went to exit the passenger side of car the hook caught his firesuit which meant he had to climb back into the fire to get unhooked. Well, he wore an open face helmet with bubble goggles that melted into his face in the first 10 seconds. A closed face helmet with a plastic air cool tube that we see so often wouldn’t have been better. That tube surely would have melted onto your shoulder after it blew toxic fumes into the helmet.
He also had on a gold necklace which melted into his chest. The steering wheel had turned into a branding iron when he went to pull it off thanks to the foam melting off of it. He has burns on his back from exiting car with the wheel on.
So here is what we learned; bubble goggles melt fast, sweat boils which will burn you so have something that wicks it away, your helmet hook should always face out, anything plastic melts fast so watch were you put it and do not wear jewelry.
One answer is CarbonX. If you just wear FR underwear under your suit it will be safer than most uniforms we see at most racetracks.
Wow, that’s terrible! After watching the video on YouTube we were astonished that either driver survived. Your story of what actually transpired in the car as your dad was trying to get out is beyond valuable to racers around the country. Often times it’s the little, seemingly unimportant items that can cause major problems. This just goes to show you how important the configuration of the driver’s cockpit is along with proper safety equipment and practicing exiting the car in a hurry. Thanks for sharing the story and by the way we do remember you. That EF-65 is one great hand cleaner!
Just wanted to drop a quick note to say thanks for preaching the safety message. The article about Will Kimmel’s crash at Daytona was very informative. Us short track racers can sure learn from what the big boys do on Saturday and Sunday. No—there aren’t 200-mph wrecks at your local bullring but the concrete walls are just as hard.
It’s our pleasure. The Circle Track crew feels a duty to the industry to ensure our readership is fully aware of the safety equipment available to them and what it can do to keep you in one piece when things go wrong.
Do you guys have a mechanism for getting the magazine on an iPad?
We sure do. You can find digital subscriptions options through Zinio, iMags, or on www.circletrack.com.
My name is Jeff Brown and I started a race team last year in memory of my son Ayden who passed away from SIDS at 31/2 months old. The driver for the team is my oldest son Mason Brown who was 12 last summer. His first year in a stock car was great year and he picked up three wins and many Second and Third place finishes and finished the points in Second.
This year we are doing something real big with his car, using it and his driving skills to help get SIDS awareness in the media eye. Our team is called Racing for Ayden and SIDS Awareness and you can find us on Facebook under that. The reason for that name is because you never hear about SIDS in the newspapers, television, or anything else. There is no awareness being done for the #1 killer of babies.
If you can please take a few minutes and check us out and see what we are doing this year. I’ve never seen this done in dirt track racing or in NASCAR. Thanks for your time and hope you check us out!
—Jeff Brown, via Facebook
Thanks for writing in, we think that is an admirable cause you’re promoting. In our travels across the country we have seen many racers use their teams to promote awareness for different charitable causes. It is an excellent way to get the word out. By the way, among the pictures Jeff sent us was one of his son in the cockpit of the race car where we noticed he was wearing a HANS device. While you can’t see the HANS in the picture below you can see what looks to be a containment seat in his son’s stock car. Kudos to Jeff for recognizing the importance of good safety equipment to keep his kid safe on the track.