Is safety in Drifting a major issue?

October 21st, 2008

After this accident at HIN Nightshift Phoenix I have been in some debates on forums about the safety of media at events and I must say that some people’s replies have really blown me away. After watching this incident happen at HIN and witnessed other accidents in similar environments I think we need to grow up as a motor sports community already.

As someone who owns a company in the media business and does a ton of work around the automotive industry I just see something lacking in a major way. Don’t misunderstand me for a minute either, we have been to these same HIN demo’s and our crew has filmed them in the same fashion as the people above in this accident video. The link below is a video we made for NOS Energy Drink at Hot Import Nights: Nightshift New York.

Now the shot you see from the Drifting demo seems very harmless because no accident had happened but that was filmed by a friend in film of ours who isn’t exactly an automotive media expert. If something were to of happened, he probably had no idea the danger he could of been in around that area. The other thing is anyone with a general credential can walk right up to that wall at HIN or into a hot zone of Formula D. Especially on the Formula D side I think they need to move into a teered system of media.

There is no reason many of the people cluttering the media pits at these events should be inside the area they are in and it just makes it generally more difficult for people who know what they are doing and have a purpose to get their job done. I have witnessed (especially this season at Formula D) some people just doing very dumb things on a hot track even though Formula D takes many great precautions for the media’s safety. Sadly Formula D cannot babysit everyone in the media section constantly observe them to assure they are not doing irrational things but they have to take the liability. Look at this perfect example from Formula D Long Beach. This kid during qualifying hopped on the k-rail and took photos for several runs until security ran and took him down.

Poor Formula D Safety

This is the major issue I really see that is going on. When you receive a media pass at HIN, NOPI, BOTI, Formula D, Pro Am or any other organization no one delineates you from a official media partner, 5 year shooting professional, blogger, kid on Flickr, local forum or anything. This is where I think a teer system can help everyone’s headache and safety. I think bloggers and local forums/sites are a key and should never have to pay to enter an event but do they really need to be allowed inside the hot media area? Perhaps we need an approval/vouch system to get into the hot area or you have to attend an event first under a cold pass to understand more of what is going on?

Another main reason that got me motivated to right this post is the events that I witnessed at Irwindale Speedway this year. So Friday I woke up wayy early to attend a mandatory media meeting which was no problem. I was upset but swallowed my pride and rolled into this meeting even though I had to bolt out to LAX right after and then head right back to the track. Well after being told for a good amount of time the basics we left and were told we had to come to the meeting tomorrow. I show up to the next meeting on Saturday which wasn’t as early but seemed as brutal time wise. The basics were like don’t run out on the track, don’t be an idiot, stand here, don’t stand here. Well during the main event what does someone do? They jump right across the k-rail while track is hot. The course worker spots them and they did get yelled at immediately. It’s like really though? What if something happened to the guy? Was he really someone worth having the liability of being in a hot zone of the race track? Hopefully he will not be allowed to return after a brash action like that took place. With all of this being said, I want to hop off my soapbox by saying that most of these concerns I am bringing here because I hope we can get this stuff solved before a fatality is caused in the sport. That I feel would be tragic for all of us in the community. If anyone would wish to contact me I am open to help with any way to improve safety at venues from grassroots to the professional series. Just drop a line through the contact form and I will get back to you.

Watch the video that sparked this whole post from HIN Nightshift Phoenix:

Good Magazine – Pay what you want subscription!

October 2nd, 2008

Since my last post was about the “Pay your own price” Girl Talk Album I figured I could stay on theme and talk about Good Magazine. They launched a pick your price subscription for it’s magazine and I must say that I subscribed under this plan. I have only purchased two issues up to this point but I must say it’s an enjoyable read. They had a writer travel across the country on trains which I must admit was quite a comical piece as it was such a disaster.

Check out Good Magazine and pay your own price:

Formula 1 Singapore Race – The 800th Race in history was amazing

September 29th, 2008

For those of you who are not F1 junkies you must know this was a triple celebration for me. Singapore has been quite an affection for me as of late and later on in my life I really plan to move to the small island of Singapore. It’s just such a gorgeous and conservative city and if they keep hosting great F1 events like this at night then I am sold! Sign me up with a waterfront condo quickly and a few parking spots, haha. Look at this amazing view of Singapore with the F1 track winding through it with the lights on through Marnia City Bay.

Here is another shot of the track at night on Marina Bay Street showing how amazing Singapore is.

Giancarlo Fisichella found out how tricky turn 10 was during F1 practice.

The most memorable moment of the F1 Singapore race looking back is this snapshot of Fernando Alonso after his car’s engine shut off during qualifying. He gave this horrific agony of defeat slam down of his face in a “I hate Renault fashion, why did I leave McLaren” and then one day later he took home the victory in shocking form.

The most amazing moment of the Grand Prix was watching Ferrari ruin the double stacked pit they attempted with Massa leaving early due to a faulty electronic light meter they use (unlike everyone else in F1 who uses a guy to signal the driver) and ruined Massa’s chances of winning this race. A small celebration for me as it gave my favorite F1 driver Lewis Hamilton a big push forward in the championship points.

2008 welcome to 1973

September 21st, 2008

Clearly it’s not important to learn anything from history…….so 1973 Oil Embargo welcome to the 2008 let’s all go buy gas for no reason and get rid of all the gas in the metro Atlanta area! Oh well…….after hours of exploring I finally found a place to get gasoline tonight. +10.

Formula 1 Belgium at SPA

September 9th, 2008

I finally am getting caught up on my TIVO and I just watched the Formula 1 Belgium race at SPA and it has to be the most amazing motorsport races I have seen in my lifetime! Even dismissing my favorite team out of the factor I was truly blown away at how much action this race has. I won’t provide any spoilers for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure at watching it but wow.

The rain kicked in with two laps left and really put a mix up in everyone’s plans. Tons of lead changes, cars spinning on the track, slamming into the walls, people not switching to wet tires as the rain comes pouring down! Wow this was an amazing race let me tell you! I probably watch a good 40 hours of motorspots a week between NASCAR Craftsman/Nationwide/Sprint Cup practice, qualifying, race and the other organizations I tune into like IRL, LeMans, and WRC. With that being said this race got me more excited than I have been in a long time. So excited that at 6:08am I decided to hop out of bed and make this blog post instead of closing my eyes.
I have never seen that many lead changes in the last three laps of a F1 race since I have been following F1 in a very hardcore matter. Spa always seems to entertain the crowd and wow this really put a crazy mix up in the Ferrari x McLaren show down. I cannot wait to see how the championship plays out this year.

The 1998 Spa race was a crazy one too, check out this track layout they run in Belgium. It is so large than when weather becomes a factor it only effects certain parts of the track resulting in confusion in tires and how the track will wind up.

Penske Racing Rig Goes up in Flames

August 21st, 2008

Penske’s Indy racing team suffered disaster early this morning when their transporter truck – en route from the team’s headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina, to Sonoma, California – caught fire at 4 a.m. on Interstate 80 outside Cheyenne, Wyoming. The two Penske personnel on board managed to escape unharmed, but could not extinguish the fire, believed to have been caused by a faulty bearing in one of the trailer’s wheels. They detached the truck cab from the burning trailer and could do nothing more but watch as an estimated $2 million worth of equipment – including two Dallara-Honda race cars – went up in flames.

For those of you that are not total IRL nerds the Penske teams consists of Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe. Castroneves is only 78 points out of the lead from Scott Dixon. It doesn’t seem clear what Penske’s plan of action will be for the race this weekend. Read more here,

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