Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

June 8, 2010

An Indy Car Firestorm of Controversy. Oh, The Humanity.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:29 am

Many race fans, myself included, who happened to watch the exciting Indy Car race in Texas Saturday night were very concerned when Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Simona De Silvestro smacked the wall then burst into flames. My crowd was yelling for the safety workers to either put the fire out and/or get her out of the car.

Simona, who is the most calm race car driver I have ever heard, took it all in stride. We love listening to her on the scanner. Her crew, many of whom are very technical, often give specific, detailed instruction to Simona while she is driving at high speed, and her reaction, generally, is a squeaky ‘OK.’ When she relays information back, she is always calm and collected.

It is no surprise, then, that she has taken the firestorm (pardon the pun) around her accident in stride. On the local news last night she held her hand up for the camera and showed, basically, one blister and two red marks. She is clear to drive. She did the smart thing by keeping her helmet on and her visor down; her safety equipment did its job.

The most vociferous hell raisers in the aftermath generally fall into two categories:

-Blithering, juvenile idiots whose Indy Car obsession is such that ANY news about Indy Car is twisted into something that portends doom or positions those involved as buffoons. Their thoughts are without merit and should be discounted.

-A torch carrying, witch hunting herd mentality has also seized the common sense of many ordinarily normal people as well. They want people fired. They express umbrage over lost valuable seconds. They want an all-out inquisition.

That is all entertaining, and controversy means press. Mainstream media has virtually eliminated Indy Car from their radar but run the living hell out of the stories only when incidents such as flaming cars with drivers on the verge of cooking are involved.

Am I the only voice of reason focused on the failure of equipment? They had  flimsy hoses that failed to activate. Most of the outrage centers around the ‘what do we do now’ hesitation as safety workers stood there holding their limp hoses. One guy toted a hand held extinguisher and he and others did get the fire put out. The way in which Simona was jerked out of the car by a burly fellow with one hand around her shoulders and the other one using her mons pubis as a handle seemed unusual, but did the job. When the primary systems failed they went to backups.

All sorts of whacko conspiracy theories now exist. The most entertaining one blames the failure on IMS/IRL cost containment. I am fairly confident IMS is OK with weeds, trash not being picked up, sour-pussed yellow shirts on power trips and bad plumbing at IMS, but that Holmatro crew has been consistently focused on doing their jobs better. I say cut them some slack and go after the manufacturer of the equipment. It failed in the precise moment it never should have. There lies the real problem that needs to be fixed immediately.



  1. Simona has been cleared to drive and her injuries were very minor. What is left is a hose that malfunctioned and this should be the focus. Perhaps a better back up plan could be devised but the end result is the driver is OK. Along with critisism of the keystone cop action displayed by some of the crew, there also needs to be kudos for the safety worker who went into the flames to pull samona from the car.

    In regards to vociferous hell raisers, it seems as if these two groups mentioned support the Delta Wing, for example even Gordon Kirby is backing it. I find this very odd…

    Are they fans of the car or the likely result of choosing this machine as the only chassis.?

    Comment by M. Miller — June 8, 2010 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

  2. I had a problem with once the equipment failed, they appeared to be at a loss of what to do next. Like there was no plan B. From then on it was improvisation.

    Comment by Real Fan — June 8, 2010 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  3. The “Media”, and the “Inquisitors” that Defender decribes took the hysteria to a greater level and a new low when Dale Earnhardt was killed. It’s just an attention-getting measure, much like a screaming toddler. Come on folks, something occasionally goes wrong in an emergency no matter how carefully the reaction is planned or how sophisticated the equipment. In Simona’s case, the injury was minor–it was a merely a close call, so leave it at that, and vow to do better next time. There’s no sense in beating someone up over “what might have been”. It’s racing.

    Comment by DOUG — June 8, 2010 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  4. I think we should ask more, why did this happened. She didn´t managed to drive his car, crashed in to wall, than panicked and was unable to leave her car.
    Such drivers (also Baguette or Sato) shouldn´t be in series at first! She is not prepared to race on ovals! Ridiculous is such mania around her a comparing her with Danica. She is not even 10% of Danica! And such comparing is a big offence to Danica! Had Danica ever made so many mistakes in one race? No!
    For young driver years in Indy Lights should be mandatory!

    Comment by I am Indy — June 9, 2010 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

  5. Wow.

    Someone’s actually defending the horrid performance by the safety team. I can’t believe it.

    It’s not that their equipment malfunctioned, unacceptable as that is. It’s that they weren’t prepared to deal with the problem. It threw them into a disorganized panic. Heck, the first guy to have the common sense to grab a bottle was so freaked-out he forgot to pull the pin.

    This speaks directly to the poor training these guys have undergone. Fix the balky hoses by all means. But more importantly, make sure you have highly-trained, alert and fit men as your first responders.

    I can’t believe you’re defending the status quo.

    Comment by wxwax — June 10, 2010 @ 6:49 pm | Reply

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